The US Navy said it seized an illicit arms shipment from a stateless dhow in international waters of the North Arabian Sea on May 6-7, 2021.
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 US Navy said, adding that other weapon components included advanced optical sights.
In a statement, the Navy said that the 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 original source and intended destination of the materiel is currently under investigation.
The materiel is in U.S. custody awaiting final disposition and the assessment of the findings will be an interagency effort, the Navy said.
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.