Australian Vessel Seizes Large Weapons Cache
Operating as part of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF150), an Australian ship uncovered and seized a large weapons cache following the boarding of a small fishing vessel.
The HMAS Darwin intercepted a small-arms smuggler approximately 170 nautical miles off the coast of Oman. The vessel was headed towards the coast of Somalia.
The crew of the Darwin initially conducted a flag verification boarding. After assessing the vessel to be stateless, the HMAS Darwin searched the vessel and discovered 1989 AK-47 assault rifles, 100 rocket propelled grenade launchers, 49 PKM general purpose machine guns, 39 PKM spare barrels, and 20 60mm mortar tubes.
The weapons were seized under United Nations sanctions which authorize interdiction on the high seas of illicit weapons destined for Somalia.
“The seizure on Darwin’s first patrol of such a large haul of illicit weapons is highly significant,” said Vice Admiral David Johnston, Australian Chief of Joint Operations. “Australia worked as part of the multinational Combined Maritime Forces to discover and seize these illegal weapons. One of the key reasons HMAS Darwin is deployed to the region is to contribute to global security and counter international terrorism. Darwin’s successful boarding and subsequent seizure of the weapons concealed under fishing nets highlights the need to remain vigilant in the region.”
“HMAS Darwin is to be congratulated on such a significant seizure,” said Commodore Jaimie Hatcher, Commander of CTF150. “This operation demonstrates the ongoing commitment that CTF150 and Combined Maritime Forces have to ensuring that those who seek to use the maritime domain to support terrorism are not successful.”
HMAS Darwin is deployed as part of the CMF and is assigned to the Australian-led Combined Task Force 150. CMF is a multinational effort to prevent terrorism, piracy, and drug smuggling, encourage regional cooperation and promote a secure maritime environment in the Middle East and off the east coast of Africa.