An SH-60 Seahawk helicopter assigned to the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61)(not shown) flies above a stateless dhow interdicted with a shipment of illicit weapons in international waters of the North Arabian Sea on May 6-7, 2021. U.S. Navy Photo

U.S. Seizes Huge Shipment of Weapons from Stateless Dhow in International Waters in Arabian Sea

Mike Schuler
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May 10, 2021

A U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser seized a large illicit shipment of weapons from a stateless dhow in international water of the North Arabian Sea, the U.S. 5th Fleet said over the weekend.

The seizure took place on May 6 and 7 by an embarked U.S. Coast Guard Advanced Interdiction Team (AIT) from the USS Monterey (CG 61). The 5th Fleet said the seizure took place during a routine flag verification boarding conducted in international water 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 grenades launchers, the 5th Fleet said.

housands of illicit weapons interdicted by guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) from a stateless dhow in international waters of the North Arabian Sea on May 6-7, 2021. U.S. Navy Photo

The original source and intended destination of the weapons, which are now in U.S. custody awaiting final disposition, is currently under investigation.

Monterey provided more than 36 hours of over watch 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.

“The U.S. Navy conducts routine patrols in the region to ensure the free flow of commerce for legitimate traffic, disrupt the transport of illicit cargo that often funds terrorism and unlawful activity, and safeguard the rules-based international order,” the 5th Fleet’s statement said.

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