A 35-foot boat laden with the explosives RDX and TNT with two bombers on board rammed the USS Cole port amidships while it was refueling in Aden harbor, ripping a 32-foot by 36-foot hole in the hull and causing extensive internal damage.
The Cole, DDG-67, is a destroyer of the Arleigh Burke class. Cmdr. Kirk S. Lippold was in command at the time of the attack. The ship was headed east, having departed its homeport of Norfolk, Va., on Aug. 8, 2000.
A U.S. Navy investigation found that the ship's officers and crew failed to take a number of security measures that would have possibly prevented the attack. At the time, Yemen was rated at a "high" threat level, the fourth-highest of a five-level threat alert system.
The vessel was moored at a refueling platform when the attack occured. The two suicide bombers waved to some of the ship's crew who were topside, many of whom later said they assumed the approaching craft was a garbage boat. Many of the crew were below decks for lunch.
The damage from the blast took 18 months and $250 million to repair.
Plotting started in spring 1999. A similar attempt to bomb the USS The Sullivans 10 months prior failed when the overloaded bomb boat sank.
Al-Nashiri mastermined the attack under the direction of Osama bin Laden. Jamal al Badawi was probably the chief coordinator in Yemen. Fahd al Quso was supposed to film the attack, but he overslept and did not arrive in time.
U.S. personnel killed were: Electronics Technician 1st Class Richard Costelow, Mess Management Specialist Lakina Francis, Information Systems Technician Tim Guana, Signalman Seaman Recruit Cherone Gunn, Seaman James McDaniels, Engineman 2nd Class Mark Nieto, Electroncs Warfare Technician 3rd Class Ronald Owens, Seaman Recruit Lakiba Parker, Engineman Fireman Joshua Parlett, Fireman Apprentice Patrick Roy, Electronics Warfare Technician Kevin Rux, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ron Santiago, Operations Special 2nd Class Timoty Sanders, Fireman Gary Swenchonis Jr., Ensign Andrew Triplett, and Seaman Apprentice Craig Wibberly.1,2,3