search

US Navy rescues Iranian drug smugglers from burning ship off coast of Oman

Sailors recover 1,745 kg of hashish, 500 kg of meth and 30 kg of heroin, valued at $14.7 million, after crew apparently set fire to their stash onboard traditional sailing vessel

A traditional dhow sailing vessel suspected of smuggling drugs burns in the Gulf of Oman, on December 15, 2021. (US Navy via AP)
A traditional dhow sailing vessel suspected of smuggling drugs burns in the Gulf of Oman, on December 15, 2021. (US Navy via AP)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The United States Navy said Thursday it rescued five Iranians suspected of smuggling drugs after they apparently set fire to their stash onboard a traditional sailing vessel off the coast of Oman.

The Navy released aerial surveillance footage showing the traditional ship, known as a dhow, as it sailed in the Gulf of Oman on Wednesday. Those on board poured a liquid, likely an accelerant, over the cargo hold as the Navy approached. Smoke then poured from the vessel after those on board apparently set the fire, setting off an explosion.

Sailors from the patrol craft USS Sirocco later arrived, rescuing the men. Sailors also recovered over 1,745 kilograms (3,850 pounds) of hashish, 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of methamphetamine and 30 kilograms (66 pounds) of heroin. The Navy valued the recovered drugs as worth $14.7 million.

Sailors believe that represented only half of all the drugs on board the dhow, with the rest burning up or sinking with the vessel, said Cmdr. Timothy Hawkins, a spokesperson for the US Navy’s Mideast-based 5th Fleet.

The five Iranians rescued from the dhow received medical treatment and have been handed over to authorities in Oman, the Navy said. One additional Iranian on board the dhow remains missing.

Iran did not immediately acknowledge the incident Thursday.

The Navy and allied forces in the region conduct anti-narcotic patrols throughout Mideast waterways. Smugglers often use dhows to transport heroin from Afghanistan and other drugs quietly through the region.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed