Muslims WorldWide

U.S. Navy intercepts ship smuggling ten tonnes of weapons — but lets the crew go free


Question: how do you avoid jail after being arrested with 10 tons of guns? Answer: get the navy to catch you

Officials say they can’t detain crew suspected of ferrying guns to Iran-backed rebels in Yemen because it was stopped in international waters.

More than 2,000 weapons were found under the boat's nets
More than 2,000 weapons were found under the boat’s nets.

Colin Freeman

By Colin Freeman, Chief foreign correspondent
3:19PM GMT 08 Mar 2016

A crew of gun-runners who were caught red-handed with nearly ten tonnes of weapons on their boat were allowed to go free by the Western-led naval force that stopped them, it was revealed on Tuesday.

The huge weapons stash was found on a fishing dhow in the Arabian Sea that US officials believe was en route to supply Iran-backed rebel fighters in Yemen.

More than 2,000 weapons were found under the boat’s nets, including Kalashnikovs, anti-tank weapons and mortar tubes – an arsenal that could normally be expected to land the smugglers with decades in jail.


Navy personnel intercepting the vessel.

But the Combined Maritime Forces, an American and British-led coalition that fights terrorism and piracy in the Horn of Africa region, said it had no choice but to let the smugglers go because the boat was stopped in international waters.

“The crew was not permanently detained, as the coalition has no authority to permanently detain traffickers in international waters,” said Lieutenant Ian McConnaughey, a US Navy spokesman, told The Daily Telegraph.

“The dhow and her crew were allowed to depart once the illicit weapons were confiscated.”

US officials believe the dhow was headed east towards Somalia, but that the weapons were probably ultimately intended for the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The Houthis have been fighting a civil war in Yemen against forces loyal to the country’s government, which is backed by Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia.

“Based on the dhow’s course, Iran is believed to be its port of origin and the source of the illicit weapons,” added Lt McConnaughey.

“The nationality of the crew was assessed to be Iranian. According to coalition forces, it is believed that the vessel’s destination was in the vicinity of Somalia. That said, the initial US assessment is that the weapons’ final destination was likely to the Houthis in Yemen.”

The guns were seized under United Nations sanctions that prohibit the delivery of illegal arms to Somalia.

“Finding people with large stashes of weapons may not look good, but then you get into grey areas about whose laws they have actually broken.”

However, the disclosure that the crew could not be subject to any similar sanctions shows how even a large and powerful multi-national navy can be frustrated by the complexities of maritime law.

The absence of any sanctions against the crew will also raise concerns that weapons smugglers have little real deterrent to their activities.

Gerry Northwood, a former Royal Navy captain who commanded the UK counter-piracy force off Somalia, and who now runs MAST, a maritime security company, told The Telegraph: “The question with cases like this is who is going to do the prosecution of anyone aboard the boat.

“The coalition cannot prosecute, it has to hand the crew over to a member country to do that, and that member country has to do against a specific national law. That is where grey areas start.

“We can all agree that finding people with large stashes of weapons may not look good, but then you get into grey areas about whose laws they have actually broken.


The guns were seized under United Nations sanctions that prohibit the delivery of illegal arms to Somalia.

“There is always a need for a proper trail of evidence that can stand up in a courtroom in these cases.”

The case has echoes of the legal difficulties facing foreign navies in their battles against Somali pirates, where pirate crews armed to the teeth have often been let go because of a lack of evidence or foreign courts willing to prosecute them.

Similar difficulties have been experienced with people-smugglers.

The Combined Maritime Forces is made up of 30 nations, including Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Pakistan, The Philippines, Portugal, Turkey, and Yemen. It is commanded by a US Navy Vice Admiral Kevin Donegan, while the deputy is Royal Navy Commodore Will Warrender.

The boat was boarded by investigators from an Australian frigate, HMAS Darwin, who counted a total of 1,989 AK-47 assault rifles, 100 rocket-propelled grenade launchers, 49 PKM machine guns, 39 PKM spare barrels and 20 mortar tubes.

The seizure is one of several weapons hauls that have been made in the maritime region around Yemen in the last three years, all suspected of having come from Iran.

 

 

7 thoughts on “U.S. Navy intercepts ship smuggling ten tonnes of weapons — but lets the crew go free

  1. Have to say guys in this instance give them to the Yemeni’s. Let’s all hope this sunni/shiia war will escalate, the moslem male scum in Europe & Scandinavia get called up by either Sunni or Shia to get back to the middle east and fight. We don’t need them, let all Arabs kill each other then we will have peace. Obama should join the war too with the rest of his moslem cronies.

    Like

    • Certainly possible.

      I think they hate each other more, than they hate the kaffir. Why? Because to leave Islam is punishable by death. It is apostasy.

      They consider other sects apostates.

      Like

Published under FAIR USE of factual content citing US 17 U.S.C. § 107 fair use protection, Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976 and UK Section 30(1) of the 1988 Act.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s