North Arabian Sea (Jan. 4, 2004) -- U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) personnel destroy a captured dhow after a successful interception mission by ships from Expeditionary Strike Group One (ESG-1) on January 1, 2004. The stateless vessels 15 crewmembers and 2,800 pounds of hashish, worth approximately $11 million street value, were intercepted and detained as part the ESGs continuing support to expanded maritime interception operations (MIO) and the global war on terrorism. ESG 1s interception was the third in two weeks by coalition maritime forces in the region. USS Decatur (DDG 73) detained a dhow and its 12 crewmembers and seized upward of $10 million in hashish Dec. 15; USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) detained two dhows and their 21 crewmembers and seized 85 pounds of heroin and 150 pounds of methamphetamines Dec. 20. Of the total 33 crewmembers originally detained in the first two interceptions, 10 have been transferred to a secret, undisclosed facility for further questioning by U.S. officials. They were transferred after initial interrogations revealed possible al Qaeda connections. The remaining 23 crewmembers were turned over to officials of a country in the region. The detainees from the Jan. 1 seizure remain with U.S. officials aboard U.S. warships in the region for further questioning. Of the previously seized dhows, one was sunk by coalition maritime forces due its lack of seaworthiness, and two others were turned over to other countries in the region. With the exception of small amounts kept as evidence and for analysis, all contraband has been destroyed. U.S. Navy photo by Photographers Mate Airman Jeffrey Klemm.
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