The US Navy said on Tuesday it had destroyed a ship that was carrying “explosive materials” from Iran to Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The ship, which the US Navy seized on November 8 in the Gulf of Oman, sank on Sunday, the Bahrain-based US Fifth Fleet said.
“The ship and its four Yemeni crew members were captured while transiting from Iran along a route historically used to smuggle weapons to the Houthi rebels in Yemen,” the US Navy said in a statement.
US forces discovered more than 100 tonnes of urea fertilizer and over 70 tonnes of ammonium perchlorate – key ingredients for the production of rocket fuel and explosives, the statement also said.
“This is a massive amount of explosive material, enough for dozens of medium-range ballistic missiles, depending on their size,” said US Vice Admiral Brad Cooper.
“The illegal transfer of lethal aid from Iran does not go unnoticed,” he added.
The four Yemeni sailors surrendered to the Yemeni coast guard.
The war in Yemen erupted in 2014, when Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized the capital, Sana’a.
This led to a coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervening a few months later to support the internationally recognized Government of Yemen.
Since then, the war has killed hundreds of thousands of people and brought the country to the brink of famine.
A United Nations-brokered ceasefire that took effect in April reduced hostilities, but that ceasefire expired on October 2 and fighting continues.