May 09, 2021
The guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey has seized weapons aboard what the Navy described as a stateless dhow, a traditional Mideast sailing ship.
The Navy did not identify where it believed the shipment originated.
By DW English
The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet said on Sunday that it had seized an arms shipment consisting of a huge cache of illicit Russian and Chinese weapons aboard a vessel in the Arabian Sea.
The guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey discovered the weapons aboard what the Navy described as a stateless dhow, a traditional Mideast sailing ship, in an operation that began Thursday in the northern reaches of the Arabian Sea.
“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 grenades launchers,” the Navy said in a statement.
“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,” it added.
Weapons destined for war-torn Yemen?
The statement did not indicate where the vessel may have come from.
It is the latest such interdiction by sailors amid the long-running war in Yemen.
Other shipments intercepted by the US and allied forces in the region were later described to be heading to the conflict-torn nation, where Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have been battling a Saudi-led military coalition for control of the country since 2015.
Yemen is awash with small arms that have been smuggled into poorly controlled ports over years of conflict.
The US Navy said its regular patrols in the region “disrupt the transport of illicit cargo that often funds terrorism and unlawful activity.”
sri/mm (AP, AFP)