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The US Navy's 5th Fleet says it has intercepted a fishing vessel in the Gulf of Oman that was carrying chemicals used to create explosives.
MOGADISHU, Somalia - On Jan. 18, two vessels from U.S. 5th Fleet intercepted a stateless fishing vessel which had previously been caught smuggling illicit weapons off the coast of Somalia last year.
The dhow was intercepted in the Gulf of Oman by the guided-missile destroyer USS Cole and the patrol coastal ship USS Chinook, interrupting its journey from Iran. The ship was sailing in international seas on a route that is routinely used to transport weaponry to the Houthi rebels, who are backed by Iran.
U.S. Marines uncovered 40 tonnes of urea, a common industrial chemical used as a fertiliser and a precursor for homemade explosives, during a boarding.
The dhow and her crew were held by the US Navy for three days before being given to the Yemen Coast Guard, which is backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The vessel was the same stateless dhow interdicted in February 2021 off the coast of Somalia by guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill. In that intercept, Churchill's crew found thousands of AK-47 assault rifles, light machine guns, heavy sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and crew served weapons aboard the vessel, along with spare parts. After this first interdiction, the weapons were confiscated and the crew and vessel were released.
In a separate interdiction conducted by the international partnership CTF 150 on January 15, a Royal Navy frigate seized more than a tonne of illegal drugs from a dhow in the Gulf of Oman.
With matarial from U.S. Navy press office