The U.S. Navy was able to seize thousands of Russian and Chinese-made illicit weapons from a stateless dhow — enough to equip a small army.
On Saturday, the service press release said that the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) seized an illicit shipment of weapons from a stateless dhow in the international water of the North Arabian Sea on May 6-7, 2021.
USS Monterey and its embarked U.S. Coast Guard Advanced Interdiction Team (AIT) discovered the illicit cargo 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. Other weapon components included advanced optical sights.
The original source and intended destination of the material are currently under investigation.
The material is in U.S. custody awaiting final disposition.
Assessment of the findings will be an interagency effort.
Monterey provided more than 36 hours of overwatch 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.
U.S. Navy seized thousands of illicit weapons in international waters of the North Arabian Sea on May 6-7.
Video by Chelsea Palmer pic.twitter.com/ulLlWkIhHe
— Dylan Malyasov (@DylanMalyasov) May 9, 2021