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WASHINGTON — U.S. Navy sailors seized more than 1,000 AK-47s from a small, disabled boat in the Gulf of Aden this week after boarding the vessel to determine its nation of origin, service officials said Thursday.
Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham on Monday observed unmarked packages being transferred onto a skiff from a small, masted sailing vessel, known as a “dhow.” U.S. sailors boarded the craft Tuesday to investigate, according to Navy officials. The skiff was sailing in international waters near Yemen without flying a country’s flag and determined to be “stateless,” the officials said.
The article goes on to state the following:
Once aboard the boat, sailors discovered the cache of illicit automatic rifles, according to the Navy.
Service officials have yet to determine the original source of the weapons, which remain in American custody. The officials declined to discuss the intended destination of the rifles and said an investigation into the incident was ongoing.
The individuals aboard the skiff were brought aboard the Dunham as part of a safety-of-life-at-sea operation and transferred into the custody of the Yemeni Coast Guard, according to the Navy.
“Ensuring the free flow of commerce for legitimate traffic and securing the sea lanes of communication continue to be paramount to the U.S. Navy and its regional partners and allies, and I am proud of Jason Dunham’s sailors for accomplishing the mission,” [The Dunham’s Cmdr. John Hamilton] said.
A #USSJasonDunham Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure #VBSS team recently seized a large cache of over 1,000 AK-47 automatic rifles aboard a stateless skiff while operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations conducting maritime security operations. #NavyReadiness pic.twitter.com/RKdenLNxXL
— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) August 30, 2018
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