The crew of the Bath Iron Works-built USS Jason Dunham on Tuesday seized more than 1,000 AK-47 rifles from a skiff bearing no flag in the Gulf of Aden in the Arabian Sea.
The vessel was without power when a VBSS (visit, board, search and seizure) team from the Dunham boarded it, according to international law, a release from the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet states.
The vessel was sailing in the Gulf of Aden, a busy shipping lane in the Arabian Sea that runs between Yemen and Somalia.
The sailors on the skiff were brought aboard the Dunham, where they were evaluated by medical personnel and determined to be uninjured. They were then handed over to the Yemeni Coast Guard, according to the release.
The original source of the rifles has not yet been identified, according to the Navy. The weapons are in U.S. custody.
“Our ship routinely conducts maritime security operations with our highly trained VBSS team incorporating both on and off ship intelligence assets to help locate vessels,” Cmdr. John Hamilton, Dunham’s commanding officer, said in the release. “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 USS Jason Dunham was built by Bath Iron Works in 2008-2009 and commissioned in November of 2010.
It is part of the U.S. 5th Fleet, which operates in nearly 2.5 million square miles of water, including the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean.
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