The U.S. Navy detained a ship full of fertilizers used in the making of explosives in the Gulf of Oman on Sunday, January 22. That same ship was caught smuggling weapons to Yemen last year by the Navy. The British Royal Navy also announced they seized 1,041 kilograms (2,295 pounds) of illegal drugs from the same area in the waters.
The Gulf of Oman is currently considered a very volatile location due to the conflict going on in Yemen, in which the U.S. is implicated heavily. Both the British and U.S. Navy have set up checkpoints of sorts that are looking for any illegal contraband going to or from, in the region.
The sailboat stopped and searched by a fleet of the U.S. Navy was sailing from Iran, on a route most popularly known for smuggling arms and weapons, hailing directly towards the currently in-conflict Yemen. The U.S. Navy’s Mideast-based 5th Fleet found approximately 40 tons of urea fertilizer going towards the conflicted land. The urea fertilizer in question found hidden on the ship, is one of the main ingredients used in explosive devices that are known to be manufactured in homes.
According to the official report by U.S. Navy, the same ship was seized on the coast of Somalia earlier, and last year it was found with thousands of rifles and weapons. According to the U.N., these rifles and weapons come from Iran as technical support for the Houthi rebels in the region. According to Iran’s own stance, however, despite being supportive of the rebels in their cause, they deny supporting them via technical gear.
There’s a long history of the rebels going up against the highly armed Saudi military occupying the region. The rebels have little to no advanced weapons with which to directly face the military, despite that they have been battling the Saudi-led military presence for control of the nation. The war in Yemen has been going on for almost 7 years now, but violence seems to have ignited even more in the last few weeks since the international attempts at talks for peace have failed.