Last week the U.S. Navy Coastal Patrol ship USS Sirocco stopped a stateless dhow in the Arabian Sea, which upon inspection was packed to the gills with munitions en route from Iran to Yemen.
The Sirocco, a 170-foot Cyclone-class patrol craft with a crew smaller than your average high school football team, encountered the dhow on March 28. Her boarding team found a stockpile of 1,500 AK-47s, 200 RPG launchers and 21 DShK and KPV type heavy machine guns. Once the size of the seizure was discovered, the destroyer USS Gravely (DDG 107) was called in to assist.
It was determined that the munitions originated in Iran and were likely bound for Houthi insurgents in Yemen, where U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are leading an 11-nation coalition against the Houthi, which are supported by Iran and Hezbollah.
This comes just a week after the French Navy destroyer FS Provence stopped a similar vessel that contained 2,000 AK-47 assault rifles, 64 Dragunov SVD sniper rifles, nine anti-tank missiles, and other munitions.
And just a month after the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Darwin intercepted a dhow packed with 2,000 AK-47 assault rifles, 100 rocket-propelled grenade launchers, 49 PKM general purpose machine guns, 39 PKM spare barrels and 20 60mm mortars. The guns were concealed under fishing nets.
How’s those UN sanctions on Iran working out? Wait…