Tuesday, July 17, 2012
The man shot and killed by a U.S. Navy ship yesterday in the Persian Gulf was from India. The surviving Indian fishermen on the boat fired upon by the USNS Rappahannock dispute the Navy's assertion that they ignored warnings their fishing vessel was getting too close to the American ship, according to Reuters.
On Monday, the Navy reported a small vessel quickly approached the Rappahannock, a refueling ship, off the waters of Jebel Ali, which is near Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
The U.S. crew repeatedly attempted to warn the vessel's operators to turn away from their deliberate approach. When those efforts failed to deter the approaching vessel, the security team on the Rappahannock fired rounds from a .50-caliber machine gun.
But Muthu Muniraj, one of the Indian fishermen on the boat who was wounded by the shots, told Reuters from his hospital bed:
"We had no warning at all from the ship, we were speeding up to try and go around them and then suddenly we got fired at.
"We know warning signs and sounds and there were none; it was very sudden. My friend was killed, he's gone. I don't understand what happened."
According to Reuters, the Indian foreign ministry has not taken a position on whether Navy properly warned the Indian fishing vessel before the shooting. The United States has promised India a full investigation into the matter. But Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told the Associated Press that India has requested a separate investigation into the incident by United Arab Emirates authorities.