The US 5th Fleet interdicted a stateless fishing vessel in the Gulf of Oman carrying 40 tons of urea fertilizer that can also be used to make explosives.
“Guided-missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) and patrol coastal ship USS Chinook (PC 9) interdicted the stateless vessel transiting from Iran in waters outside of any state’s territorial sea along a route historically used to traffic weapons to the Houthis in Yemen,” a statement by the 5th Fleet said on Sunday.
The same vessel was caught in February 2021 smuggling illicit weapons off the coast of Somalia apparently for Houthi rebels in Yemen, but it is not clear how the vessel was allowed to go free.
The interdiction took place on January 18, the 5th Fleet said, and the ship was transferred to Yemen’s coastguard with its cargo and crew of five.
In December, the US Navy seized another shipin the Arabian Sea originating from Iran that was carrying 1,400 AK-47 assault rifles and 226,600 rounds of ammunition. The vessel was transiting “international waters along a route historically used to traffic weapons to the Houthis in Yemen,” a Navy statement said at the time.
The 5th Fleet operates in the waters of the Middle East, from the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf in an area encompassing 2.5 million square miles.