The United States Navy has reported interrupting a weapons smuggling operation in the Gulf of Aden believed to be supplying firepower to the ongoing war in Yemen. According to a statement the guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham deployed to U.S. 5th Fleet, seized an illicit shipment of arms from a stateless skiff in the international waters of the Gulf of Aden.
The Navy statement said the Dunham located a dhow, which is a traditional ship type common in the Persian Gulf region, transferring “covered packages” to the skiff. The skiff was determined to be stateless following a flag verification boarding, conducted in accordance with international law.
The Dunham’s search and seizure team found a cache of more than 1,000 AK-47 automatic rifles aboard the skiff which had inoperable engines and distressed mariners who were later transferred to Yemeni Coast Guard.
While the Navy could not identify the country of origin of the weapons, it is believed that the weapons were set to be delivered to either of the opposing sides in the Yemeni civil war.