RICHMOND, Va. — Four crew members from an unflagged ship that U.S. officials say was carrying Iranian-made missile components to Houthi rebels in Yemen are scheduled to appear Tuesday in federal court in Virginia, where prosecutors are expected to argue they should be held without bond while they await trial.

U.S. Navy SEALs and the U.S. Coast Guard boarded the vessel in January in the Arabian Sea in the wake of continued Houthi attacks on commercial and military ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Two Navy SEALs drowned during the Jan. 11 operation. U.S. officials said Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers slipped into the gap created by high waves between the vessel and the SEALs’ combatant craft.

As Chambers fell, Navy Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan Gage Ingram jumped in to try to save him, according to U.S. officials familiar with what happened. The SEAL who jumped in after the other operator in a rescue attempt was following protocol, according to court documents.

Efforts to find and rescue the two SEALs were unsuccessful. They were later declared dead by the U.S. Navy.

The man who captained the unflagged vessel, Muhammad Pahlawan, refused to slow the ship when the U.S. Navy began its boarding attempt and “shouted for the crew to burn the boat before the Navy could board it,” according to court documents filed in the federal court in Richmond.

The ship was described in court documents as a dhow.

“Rather than turn the engine off, however, Pahlawan told crewmembers not to stop the dhow while the Navy was approaching,” court documents stated. “In fact, Pahlawan tried to make the dhow go faster. Finally, another crewmember, not Pahlawan, stepped up to the engine and stopped the boat.”

During a search of the ship, U.S. forces found and seized Iranian-made advanced conventional weaponry, including critical parts for medium-range ballistic missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles, a warhead, and propulsion and guidance components, an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit. The agent said the items found are consistent with weaponry used by Houthi rebel forces in recent attacks on merchant ships and U.S. military ships.

The affidavit quoted U.S. Central Command, which stated that it was the first seizure of “Iranian-supplied advanced conventional weapons” to the Houthis since their strikes began in November.

“Initial analysis indicates these same weapons have been employed by the Houthis to threaten and attack innocent mariners,” the FBI agent wrote, quoting Central Command.

The rebels have repeatedly targeted ships in the Red Sea and surrounding waters over Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. They have frequently targeted vessels with tenuous or no clear links to Israel, imperiling shipping in a key route for trade among Asia, the Mideast and Europe.

The four crew members scheduled to appear Tuesday in U.S. District Court were all carrying Pakistani identification cards, according to court documents.

Pahlawan, the alleged captain, is charged with attempting to smuggle advanced missile components, including a warhead he is accused of knowing would be used by the Houthi rebels against commercial and naval vessels. He is also charged with providing false information to U.S. Coast Guard officers during the boarding of the vessel.

Pahlawan’s codefendants — Mohammad Mazhar, Ghufran Ullah and Izhar Muhammad — were also charged with providing false information.

Specifically, the men lied about Pahlawan’s identity as captain, the weapons on board and the ship’s departure from Iran, court documents stated. The men had claimed their voyage’s origin was Pakistan.

Their attorneys have declined to comment.

Another 10 crew members are being detained under the federal material witness law. It allows courts to issue warrants for the arrest and detention of a person if their testimony is “material in a criminal proceeding,” and if it “may become impracticable to secure the presence of the person by subpoena.”

The FBI affidavit states that crew members had been in contact multiple times by satellite phone with a member of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.

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