A stateless ship carrying around 1,400 AK-47 assault rifles has been seized by the US Navy (Photo: US Navy)
A stateless ship carrying 1,400 AK-47 rifles has been intercepted by the US Navy.
Ships of the U.S. 5th Fleet seized approximately 1,400 AK-47 assault rifles from a stateless fishing vessel during a flag check inspection in the northern Arabian Sea, Naval Forces Central Command says of the United States (NAVCENT).
US Navy coastal patrol vessels USS Tempest (PC 2) and USS Typhoon (PC 5) recovered weapons and more than 226,000 rounds during a search by US Coast Guard shipboard personnel on December 20 .
The weapons and ammunition have since been transported to the guided-missile destroyer USS O’Kane (DDG 77) and await a “final disposition”, according to NAVCENT.
“The stateless vessel was believed to have originated from Iran and had transited through international waters along a route historically used for smuggling illegal weapons to the Houthis in Yemen,” NAVCENT added. “The direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of weapons to the Houthis violates UN Security Council resolutions and US sanctions.”
After the withdrawal of five crew members who identified themselves as Yemeni nationals and illegal weapons, the US Navy determined that the stateless vessel posed a danger to commercial shipping and then sank it.
“US navies regularly conduct maritime security operations in the Middle East to ensure the free flow of legitimate trade and disrupt the transport of illicit goods that often fund terrorism and other illegal activities,” NAVCENT reported.
“US Navy warships operating in the US 5th Fleet area seized approximately 8,700 illicit weapons in 2021.”