Fishermen recovering after US Navy attack boat off UAE coast
A fishing vessel that was attacked by a US navy ship included a crew of six Indians and two Gulf Arabs, a source told 7DAYS.
One Indian man was killed and three injured in the incident. Two other Indians and the two Arabs were not on the deck of the ship when the US refuel ship, the UNSN Rappahannock opened fire with a .50 calibre heavy machine gun.
All the Indian crew are from Tamil Nadu in the south east tip of India, known for its skilled fishermen. The three injured men have been taken to a Dubai hospital where they are in a stable condition and able to talk to their families.
“They are over the worst. They have injuries to the body but they are able to talk and some have been joined by family members,” the source in the Indian foreign ministry said.
Meanwhile, the US and UAE governments have promised a detailed investigation of the attack, which happened near Jebel Ali Port.
The Indian ambassador to the UAE, MK Lokesh, told 7DAYS that both governments had promised to report back to him following the investigations.
“They have not set a timeline but we are certainly awaiting their findings,” he said.
The US Navy said in a press statement that the small fishing boat ignored warnings to stay back before US Navy officers fired from a .50-calibre machine gun.
The US has been extremely cautious about small vessels approaching its navy ships since suicide bombers blew a hole in the side of the USS Cole in 2000, killing 17 US sailors. Even when US aircraft carriers are on public display in US ports, they are surrounded by smaller, heavily-armed vessels looking for suicide bombers approaching by boat.
Lt Greg Raelson, a spokesman for the Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, said a security team aboard the USNS Rappahannock issued a series of warnings before firing at the fishing boat about 15km off the coast of Jebel Ali.
Raelson said the incident happened about 2.50pm on Monday.
The Rappahannock is an oiler used to fuel other Navy ships while they are at sea. American warships frequently visit Jebel Ali port.