US Navy Seizes Massive Weapon Shipment From Stateless Vessel In Arabian Sea

The guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) seized a massive shipment of illicit weapons last week that was being transited through international waters of the North Arabian Sea, according to the US Navy

A Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk launched from the USS Monterey helped stopped the stateless dhow sailing vessel on May 6 as part of a routine operation to verify its registry. 

USS Monterey personnel worked with US Coast Guard Advanced Interdiction Team (AIT), boarded the vessel, and found the weapon stash. 

“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. Other weapon components included advanced optical sights,” the Navy said. 

The illicit cargo was removed from the vessel and laid out on the rear of the flight deck of the 567-foot warship. 

Lt. Cmdr. Pete Pagano, a spokesperson for the Navy’s Fifth Fleet, told CNN in an email Monday, the weapons were likely bound for Houthi rebels in Yemen. He cited similar seizures by the Fifth Fleet over the years. 

“It comes amid tensions in Yemen and Iran’s attempt to support Houthi rebels there. However, it may be linked to other militant groups in Yemen or even the Horn of Africa or elsewhere,” said The Jerusalem Post

On Feb. 9, the cruiser USS Normandy seized missile components from a dhow sailing vessel in the Arabian Sea. 

The seizure of the weapons was around the time the Biden administration lashed out at Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels last Friday for refusing to meet with senior UN officials to address plans to wind down the country’s devastating war and increase humanitarian relief to suffering civilians. President Biden has also announced the end of operations in the Yemen War. 

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