The boat carrying the guns was thought to be heading to Somalia

The French Navy has seized a huge arsenal of illegal weapons after one of its helicopters spotted the boat carrying them on 20 March during a routine surveillance mission.

The vessel, carrying hundreds of AK-47 assault rifles and anti-tank artillery, was spotted in the Indian Ocean and was thought to be heading towards Somalia.

The French Navy helicopter contacted the FS FREMM destroyer Provence frigate and the suspicious boat was stopped and boarded by French marines who discovered the vast quantity of weapons.

It’s unknown where the craft had travelled from but it’s believed it was heading to Somalia to deliver the arms to Islamist militants.

The weapons were confiscated under the United Nations arms embargo.

A Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) spokesperson said: “France has been supporting Combined Maritime Forces operations since their inception. This seizure is another French contribution to the stabilisation of the region.”
The FS Provence was working as part of the Combined Maritime Forces Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), a multinational force which conducts maritime security and counter terrorism operations.