Navy personnel from expeditionary sea base Lewis B. Puller halted the delivery of 50 tons of ammunition rounds, fuses and propellants for rockets from a fishing trawler to Yemen in the Gulf of Oman last week.
Personnel found the items during a flag verification boarding of the fishing vessel, which originated from Iran, on Dec. 1.
Altogether, U.S. naval forces uncovered more than 1 million rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 25,000 rounds of 12.7mm ammunition, nearly 7,000 proximity fuses for rockets, and over 2,100 kilograms of propellant found in rocket-propelled grenades.
“The direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of weapons to the Houthis in Yemen violates U.N. Security Council Resolution 2216 and international law,” the Navy said in a statement.
The Navy’s increased presence in the 5th Fleet in the past year has resulted in an uptick in weapons and illicit drug seizures. Since 2020, Combined Maritime Forces have intercepted approximately $900 million worth of illicit narcotics.
“This significant interdiction clearly shows that Iran’s unlawful transfer of lethal aid and destabilizing behavior continues,” Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, said in a statement. “U.S. naval forces remain focused on deterring and disrupting dangerous and irresponsible maritime activity in the region.”
The episode came less than a month after another major illegal weapons seizure, where the Coast Guard cutter John Scheuerman and the Navy guided missile destroyer The Sullivans removed more than 170 tons of urea fertilizer and ammonium perchlorate, which are used for making explosives.