US Navy seizes illicit weapons cache in North Arabian Sea

Photo: US Navy

The US Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey seized an illicit shipment of weapons from a stateless dhow in international waters of the North Arabian Sea earlier this month, Naval Forces Central Command officials said on Friday, May 8.

Monterey and its embarked US Coast Guard Advanced Interdiction Team (AIT) discovered the illicit cargo during a routine flag verification boarding conducted in international waters in accordance with customary international law.

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 original source and intended destination of the materiel is currently under investigation.

The materiel is in US custody awaiting final disposition. Assessment of the findings will be an interagency effort.

Monterey provided more than 36 hours of overwatch and security for its boarding teams and the interdicted vessel throughout the two-day operation.

After all illicit cargo was removed, the dhow was assessed for seaworthiness, and after questioning, its crew was provided food and water before being released.

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