A US Navy destroyer has intercepted two dhows with thousands of weapons on board in two separate actions off the coast of Somalia.
USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) seized the illicit shipments from two stateless dhows on February 11 and 12.
The cache of weapons consisted of thousands of AK-47 assault rifles, light machine guns, heavy sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and crew served weapons. Other weapon components included barrels, stocks, optical scopes and weapon systems.
The original source of the weapons has not yet been identified, the navy said.
The seizure of the illicit weapons by Churchill was conducted as part of the US Navy’s regular maritime security operations in the region. These routine patrols are performed to ensure the free flow of commerce for legitimate traffic and to disrupt the transport of illicit cargo that often funds terrorism and unlawful activity.
“This joint team [Army, Navy and Coast Guard] on board Churchill came together to successfully execute this operation over the course of two days in the Indian Ocean. These operations prevent nefarious actors from illegally spreading their lethal aid,” said Cdr. Timothy Shanley, commanding officer of Churchill.
Winston S. Churchill departed Norfolk, Virginia, on August 10 for a regularly-scheduled deployment to maintain maritime security and ensure the freedom of navigation in critical waterways.