Previous Post
Next Post

A shipment of AK-47 type rifles was seized by a US Navy ship in the Arabian sea on August 27th. The dhow carrying the cargo was in distress. It wasn’t under power or under sail, and had no papers from any nation-state.

This seems to be fairly common occurrence in the area. The boarding team from the USS Jason Dunham found a thousand AK-style rifles. No mention was made of ammunition or rocket-propelled grenades, another common small arm in the area.


The skiff was determined to be stateless following a flag verification boarding, conducted in accordance with international law. Illicit cargo discovered by the Dunham’s visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team included over 1,000 weapons.

“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,” said Cmdr. John Hamilton, Dunham’s commanding officer. “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.”

Dunham located a dhow transferring covered packages to a skiff on Aug. 27. On Aug. 28, Dunham conducted a flag verification boarding and determined the skiff to be a stateless vessel. Subsequently, the boarding team discovered a cache of over 1,000 AK-47 automatic rifles.

The skiff’s engines were inoperable, and the distressed mariners were brought aboard Dunham as part of a safety-of-life-at-sea (SOLAS) operation. The mariners were evaluated by the ship’s medical personnel and were uninjured.

The original source of the rifles isn’t known. The intended customers haven’t been mentioned in any of the reporting so far. The sailors from the distressed dhow were turned over to the Yemeni Coast Guard.

In reports dealing with similar arms shipments in 2016, it was reported the intended recipients were on the Iranian side of the conflict, and the arms were from the Iranians. In 2016, the sailors were released after the arms were confiscated. There were several seizures of arms in 2016. One of those included 21 .50 caliber machine guns.

From a 2016 article:

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) — For the third time in recent weeks, international naval forces operating in the waters of the Arabian Sea seized a shipment of illicit arms March 28, which the United States assessed originated in Iran and was likely bound for Houthi insurgents in Yemen.

The U.S. Navy Coastal Patrol ship USS Sirocco, operating as part of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, intercepted and seized the shipment of weapons hidden aboard a small, stateless dhow. The illicit cargo included 1,500 AK-47s, 200 RPG launchers and 21 .50 caliber machine guns.


The Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Darwin intercepted a dhow Feb. 27, confiscating nearly 2,000 AK-47 assault rifles, 100 rocket-propelled grenade launchers, 49 PKM general purpose machine guns, 39 PKM spare barrels and 20 60mm mortar tubes.

A March 20 seizure by the French Navy destroyer FS Provence yielded almost 2,000 AK-47 assault rifles, 64 Dragunov sniper rifles, nine anti-tank missiles and other associated equipment.

Forbes reported in 2017 that prices for the rifles in the area vary from $600 in Kurdish areas of Iraq to $1200 in Yemen. The ship’s cargo of 1000 AK-47 rifles represents about a half million to a million dollars in value.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

Previous Post
Next Post


    • AKs in the global market? You would have to take a look at the markings but typically you will see Russian, Chinese, Bulgarian, Romanian (with and without the distinctive front handgrip), and maybe Hungarian.

      These days Chinese would be the most common.

  1. I can make sure that at least one of those AKs finds a good home here in the US. All I need is a good old amnesty period declared.

      • Because vets deserve a ridiculously lucrative carve-out because, reasons. Practically no ‘trophies’ are anything of the sort, and are just crap that was bartered for from other guys, or at best, found along the way. So there was never any real justification for a carve-out, just reasons. It also creates huge amounts of confusion and legal liability (all those illegal machineguns out there) and encourages theft of equipment.

        Keeping one’s issued service rifle as a retired reservist who is still technically on the role is something different, and a very good idea.

        • When the majority of gun owners support the Bump Stock, not a real MG, then maybe we can talk about making the NFA go away, for real machine guns.

        • Allow soldiers to purchase their issued weapon when they leave service. Government gets money to buy new rifle, old rifles rotated out of stock. Win win.

        • Oddly, I have the opposite sentiment. Please let the vets flood the market with full autos taken from the bodies of our enemies and flood the market with them. The reappeal is all the better but getting around the Hughes Amendment is okay with me. Then again, doesn’t everyone need an amnesty period to announce the lowers that they added pin holes to during the amnesty?

        • I hate to agree with Nanashi, but yeah repealing the NFA for any reason would be nice. Not a carve out, just a repeal.

          Your cited reasons about just being bartered vs actual trophies isn’t wrong, but that’s because by and large Army/Marines specifically seizes enemy arms caches and then processes them for; evidence (fingerprints), destruction, redistribution to allies (ANA/ANP/Pro-Coalition Militias). Letting joe’s keep, or even just hold on to them while it theatre, is basically unheard of simply because any kind of trophy gathering is illegal and because the .mil is more worried about controlling materials for PR purposes than joe getting mementos or trophies. They’re pretty damn serious about enforcing it too. Remember saving Private Ryan and that Staff Sergeant who was collecting dirt from every continent he fought on as a memento? Absolutely verboten now, the army’s customs people and U.S. customs won’t allow you to bring back any foreign plants or soil.

    • AK = Jihadi weapon so fat neg here. Seriously, if I see someone coming up the drive toting an AK I can only assume they are a terrorist intent on denying me a meal of bacon.

  2. And no cosmoline to clean of those gems. Is 1000 an “arsenal”?

    The Aussies get the vapors when they came across 2000+ nasty ole guns?

    • Most sailors I knew from cross training 30 years ago would have reported 2000 AK if there had been 4000 originally. My army unit would have “borrowed” one each then reported the leftovers.

      In the current politically correct navy they probably reported all of them.

        • Waaaaaaaaa

          Grunts in the USMC took home shit all the time, stuff it in the company quad con. I wouldn’t be surprised if other branches did the same.


      • My God, those Americans took guns! *GASP*. Up until probably Vietnam or after trophies were allowed. Couldn’t be any kind of machine gun I believe, but it basically had to comply with U.S. law and the commanders discretion. Stop being such a negative Nancy.

  3. I guess were still playing “American world police…” Let THEM kill each other…Then the USA can inherit the Earth 🌎….2nd-ly, If we’re at some kind of state of war/or/police action, and our country has some kind of legal rights to police these water for contraband from our ‘enemies”…Then wouldn’t it be better to resurrect the old practice of “Writ of Marque and Reprisal” allowing our fine USA citizenry to further exercise THEIR 2nd Amendment right by granting THEM the ablity to outfit private warships and become Privateers…US Citizens creating private Buccaneer salvage companies would create jobs, lots of profit to go around, and adventure!

    • Indeed. In fact we should be focusing all this global effort on space. Start occupying the moon and mars now while the primitives are fighting among themselves for sludge in the ground. By the time they figure it all out, the galaxy will be ours.

  4. I want one so badly. If they are confiscating them, why not bring them stateside and sell them? I’m sure people (like myself) would pay good money to own one! If they are full auto, that just means more money that the government could use to help pay off our debts!

    • Hey, stop with that common sense. We can’t allow snowflakes to melt at the thought of actual machineguns being imported for the masses and be used to pay off any government debt.

    • Frankly, that pic looks like a pile of crap. Likely well used and not maintained. Washed out bores and smell like a herd of goats. Probably came over from Somalia after they decided they were to used up for them.

      • So they aren’t worth the NFA tax stamp? Even if they are all junk, there should still be plenty of good parts.

  5. From the picture shown and being an AK aficionado myself, the AK’s in the picture are Chinese Type 56’s (spike bayonets, hooded front sights, angled rear stock, front trunnion rivet pattern) and East German MPi-KM’s (AKM) (no cleaning storage in buttstock, brown plastic furniture, lower wooden handguard with brown upper handguard).

    Contrary to popular belief, these two types are the most common AK’s on the planet, not Russian/Soviet ones.

      • No they are German.

        They were made at the Suhl arsenal with their own modifications making them uniquely East German to differentiate themselves from the Soviets. They were the first Eastern Bloc country to use polymer furniture before the Soviets and everyone else in the Bloc in the 60’s. Soviets wouldn’t go polymer until the mid-80’s on the AK-74.

  6. Also looks like that whole “AK’s are worth only $300” went out the window seeing how much AK’s are going for overseas in this article. Right around what AK’s are going for stateside.

  7. it looks like SORE-ASS LOST SOME MORE MONEY. good now bring the product here so when we start closing down the next foreign strongman government ,we can use the rebels supply of tools to do the job .

  8. How is this “operation” not piracy? Some boat was floating around in the ocean with some rifles. So what?

    Oh, I know:
    (1) If a government does it, it is not piracy.
    (2) If a non-government entity does it, it is piracy.

    • Well, see, these rifles were found in the Arabian Sea, which borders the Indian Ocean, which borders both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, which are waterways connecting several U.S. states. Therefore these rifles affect interstate commerce, and stealing them right out from under their legitimate owner is perfectly constitutional. /sarc

    • Not to go to deep into international maritime law, but the key is that they were not flying a flag or claiming a country of nationality. If this is the case then by maritime law they are open to becoming whats known as an “assimilated stateless vessel.” Also international shipment of weapons without proper paperwork is smuggling and thus illeglal. Again this isn’t a U.S. thing this is international maritime law agreed upon by most nations. We do the same thing with drug traffickers and migrant smugglers.

        • Don’t really see how it’s piracy. We aren’t stealing their stuff for profit. We are confiscating evidence of a crime. If they were a registered vessel from a foreign country we would have no legal jurisdiction, only law enforcment/military from their registered country would if they are in international waters. Things get a little trickier inside countries sovereign waters. If they aren’t registered they are subject to agreed upon international laws, which includes smuggling of arms. America isn’t the only country who does this. Virtually every country abides by these conventions.

          It’s really no different then driving an unregistered vehicle on public roads. If you did that the cops would arrest you, possibly seize your vehicle, and just like in this case seize any illegal contraband they find and charge you.

          Now if we just went around stopping random boats for no reason and confiscating their legally registered trade goods, THAT would be piracy.

          This is again the same way we stop drug smugglers and human trafficers.

  9. If they REALLY wanted to know where they came from or where they were going, they should have turned the crew over to the Omani’s. They would know in a hour. Trust me on this.

    • Even better bring our troops home and mind our own business. Nothing in the Middle East is any responsibility of the American tax payer.

      • There’s Chris right on they money. I’m sort of ok with helping patrol friendly nations waters when they request it, but that begs the question of why don’t they do it themselves? Essentially, lending a hand once in awhile for a certain timeframe when another state needs and asks for it as one thing. Other states expecting us to just patrol their waters as proxy coast guard all the damn time is no bueno.

      • I lived in the Middle East for six years so I have a little insight into the problems. I don’t like having our troops over there but I would rather fight them there than here. Will probably have to do here some day anyway.

        Most of the Middle East is still very much tribal and the tribes have been fighting each other for thousands of years. We are not going to stop it without developing the attitude of WWII; go do what ever it takes to defeat the enemy. Kill and bomb until they no longer have the means or will to fight. Destroy everything.

        Our politicians have not allowed the military to win a war since 1945 and no sign of that changing.

        My best thought is, “Be Prepared ! “

  10. When I was first assigned to an Army Advisor Team (yes, I’m a Marine) they were giving “End of Tour Awards” of a folding stock, usually Polish, AK-47 mounted in a wooden plaque, was a great award until the damn Military Customs found out there were NOT half of an AK mounted on a plaque, but a complete operable AK-47! Wonder how many made it back to the USA? During my 2 years there I would trade folding stock AKs to the Seabees to build us hootches, clubs, etc. I always would trade 4 AKs for 1 hootch….when I asked how they were going to get them back to Port Hueneme in the States, an old Chief said “do you know how many AKs will fit into the crankcase of a cat?” He said when they rotated every 6 months back to the States they took their equipment with them, was simple to make a cat inoperable and fill it’s crankcase with AKs….after they returned home everyone got one at a unit party!

  11. The market in Chicago , accessed from the St. Lawrence or Los Angeles would make these 1,000 guns 5 times as valuable
    The question is were they ordered by SPLC, hillary or maybe bernie?

Comments are closed.