Third Illicit Arms Shipment in Recent Weeks Seized in Arabian Sea

By U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs | | April 04, 2016

MANAMA, Bahrain -- For the third time in recent weeks, international naval forces operating in the waters of the Arabian Sea seized a shipment of illicit arms March 28, which the United States assessed originated in Iran and was likely bound for Houthi insurgents in Yemen.

The U.S. Navy Coastal Patrol ship USS Sirocco, operating as part of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, intercepted and seized the shipment of weapons hidden aboard a small, stateless dhow. The illicit cargo included 1,500 AK-47s, 200 RPG launchers and 21 .50 caliber machine guns.

The seizure was supported by USS Gravely (DDG 107), which was directed to the scene by United States Naval Forces Central Command following the discovery of the weapons by Sirocco's boarding team.


The weapons are now in U.S. custody awaiting final disposition. The dhow and its crew were allowed to depart once the illicit weapons were seized.

This seizure is the latest in a string of illicit weapons shipments assessed by the U.S. to have originated in Iran that were seized in the region by naval forces.

The Royal Australian Navy's HMAS Darwin intercepted a dhow Feb. 27, confiscating nearly 2,000 AK-47 assault rifles, 100 rocket-propelled grenade launchers, 49 PKM general purpose machine guns, 39 PKM spare barrels and 20 60mm mortar tubes.

A March 20 seizure by the French Navy destroyer FS Provence yielded almost 2,000 AK-47 assault rifles, 64 Dragunov sniper rifles, nine anti-tank missiles and other associated equipment.

NAVCENT is responsible for approximately 2.5 million square miles of area including the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, parts of the Indian Ocean and 20 countries.

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/5th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusnc/