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US Navy interdicts unregistered ship smuggling thousands of weapons in Arabian Sea

i24NEWS

clock 3 min read

US Navy sailors stand on the deck of the USS Monterey military vessel as others stand onshore in the Black Sea harbor port of Constanta, Romania on June 7, 2011.
DANIEL MIHAILESCU / AFPUS Navy sailors stand on the deck of the USS Monterey military vessel as others stand onshore in the Black Sea harbor port of Constanta, Romania on June 7, 2011.

Fifth Fleet seizes large arms cache after boarding an “unregistered dhow” in international waters

The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet seized a large cache of arms after boarding an “unregistered dhow” in international waters in the North Arabian Sea.

The thousands of weapons, detained on 6-7 May, included assault rifles, machine guns, anti-tank missiles, sniper rifles, and optics, the Bahrain-based fleet said in a statement. 

Both the intended destination and the origin of the stateless smuggling vessel are unknown and are under investigation. 

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Forces deployed from the guided-missile cruiser the USS Monterey conducted the 36 hour-long operation. 

"The cache of weapons included dozens of advanced Russian-made anti-tank guided missiles, thousands of Chinese Type 56 assault rifles, and hundreds of PKM machine guns, sniper rifles, and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. Other weapon components included advanced optical sights," the Fifth Fleet said.

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While the US Navy did not release an assessment on the identity of those behind the smuggling operation, the North Arabia Sea is part of the route ships traveling between Iran and Yemen must follow.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been accused of materially supporting the Houthis in Yemen’s seven-year-long civil war. 

The weapons shipment was discovered by a US Coast Guard Advanced Interdiction Team, embarked with the USS Monterey, during a routine flag verification boarding operation. 

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