I had planned something else for today, but then I noticed Sheila, and I caught such an intriguing detail that I decided to postpone the other post.  An update shows her as departing Ambrose Anchorage and heading to Coeymans.  As of posting, she’s passing the Palisades.   Sheila is a fairly new (2016) bulk carrier.

But my question . . . where in the world is the port abbreviated as IQ UQR? I thought it quite an unusual provenance for a vessel transiting the sixth boro.   If Sheila were in IQ UQR this morning, chances are she would see a shallow draft called Damen Hardinxveld.  A shallow draft tug like this no doubt works with lots of trailing suction hopper dredgers, and there are a lot of dredgers in IQ UQR removing the shifting sand.  Any guesses yet?  It may be hard because the Dutch are everywhere.  Click on the photo below and you’ll see where she is today.  Once you find her, follow the waterway inland and you’ll find the answer to the title questions.

The Sheila crew might also see Al-Sandibad.  In fact, she might even have had Al-Sandibad as an assist tug to get away from the dock.

Another tug in the mystery port is Al-Ashaar.  This might get you in the right part of the workd, given the geographical background and the courtesy flag flying from the mast of the tug.  Look closely at the lower name on Al-Sandibad also.   As for diminsions, Al-Sandibad (think “sinbad“) is 120.7′ x 36′.  Al-Ashaar (probably has this guy as namesake)  is 111.5′ x 32.8′.

So the answer is IQ UQR is the universal abbreviation for the port of Umm Qasr.  Got it?  It has a history going back to Alexander the Great in 325 BCE!!  There was also a battle there less than 20 years ago that caused the deaths of 14 coalition soldiers.  Coalition (HMS Bangor, Sandown, and Brocklesby) swept the area of mines.

To see the location and much more of the history of IQ UQR aka Umm Qasr, click here.

I was several miles from Umm Qasr in 1990.  At least one of tugster readers was in the vicinity more recently.  The port has been re-opened for only about a year.

If you want a virtual tour of the area including Khor Al-Zubair port, where I was, and Umm Qasr, you can play with this interactive map.