US Navy seizes huge arms cache in Arabian Sea

US Navy seizes huge arms cache in Arabian Sea

The US Navy claims to have seized a huge cache of illicit Russian and Chinese weapons from a stateless ship sailing in international waters in the northern Arabian Sea.
The Bahrain-based U.S. Fifth Fleet said on Sunday that the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey intercepted the boat and discovered the cargo during a routine embarkation during a two-day operation on May 6 and 7.

“The weapons cache 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,” he said in a press release.

The weapons are in the hands of the United States and their source and destination are under investigation, he said.

The Fifth Fleet said the Monterey was in service for 36 hours, ensuring the safety of boarding crews.

“Once all the illegal cargoes were removed, the dhow was assessed for seaworthiness and, after questioning, its crew were given food and water before being released.”

A dhow is a traditional sailing ship in the Middle East.

The statement did not indicate where the ship might have come from, but indicated that regular US Navy patrols in the region “disrupt the transport of illicit goods which often finance terrorism and illegal activities.”

It was the last such ban by American sailors in the midst of the long war in Yemen. The Navy did not indicate where it believed the shipment was coming from.

However, the assortment of weapons aboard the dhow reflected other consignments seized by the United States and Allied forces in the region which were later described as heading for Yemen, where the Houthi rebels aligned with the Iran have fought against the country’s Saudi-led military coalition since 2015.

Yemen is teeming with small arms that have been smuggled into poorly controlled ports during years of conflict.


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