(CMR) The US Navy and Coast Guard seized thousands of illicit weapons last week after stopping a small ship in the North Arabian Sea. The weapon seizure was so big it covered the rear deck of a 567-foot US warship, CNN reported.
The Navy said the cruiser USS Monterey stopped the stateless dhow on May 6 during a routine operation to verify its registry, while a US Coast Guard Advanced Interdiction Team deployed on the Navy ship boarded the dhow and found the weapons, CNN reported.
“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 Navy statement said.
The origin and destination of the weapons are being investigated, but previous arms shipments confiscated by the US Navy under similar circumstances were bound for Houthi rebels in Yemen, a spokesperson for the Navy's Fifth Fleet told CNN.
Similar seizures have been made in the past after US authorities conducted similar stops and searches of vessels. On February 12, the USS Winston Churchill stopped two dhows off the coast of Somali, which were carrying weapons including rocket-propelled grenade launchers, crew-served weapons, and small arms.
Last year, on February 9, 2020, the cruiser USS Normandy stopped a dhow in the Arabian Sea and seized missile components. On November 25, 2019, the destroyer USS Forrest Sherman also found missile components on a dhow it stopped in the Arabian Sea.
The Navy said the weapons seized last week would remain in US custody while the investigation is ongoing.