US Navy cruiser seizes vessel carrying illegal weapons in Arabian Sea

Photo: US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael H. Lehman
Photo: US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael H. Lehman

On Sunday, February 9, the crew of the US Navy Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Normandy, while conducting maritime security operations in the US Central Command (CENTCOM) area of operations in the Arabian Sea, boarded a dhow in accordance with international law and discovered a large cache of weapons.

The weapons seized include 150 Dehlavieh anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), Iranian-manufactured copies of the Russian-built Kornet ATGM.

Other weapons components seized aboard the dhow were of Iranian design and manufacture and included three Iranian surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), Iranian thermal imaging weapon scopes, and Iranian components for unmanned aerial and surface vessels, as well as other munitions and advanced weapons parts.

Many of these weapons systems are identical to the advanced weapons and weapon components seized by the guided missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman in the Arabian Sea on November 25, 2019. Those weapons were determined to be of Iranian origin and assessed to be destined for the Houthi rebel militia in Yemen, which would be in violation of a UN Security Council Resolution that prohibits the direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer of weapons to the Houthis.

The seized weapons are in US custody awaiting final disposition. The assessment of the material will be an inter-agency and international effort.

International partner nations and organisations have also been invited to inspect the cache.

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