Dubai/Rameswaram: In what could turn into a diplomatic row, a US Navy ship opened fire on a small boat killing an Indian fishermen and injuring three others. The incident took place off the coast of Dubai. A UAE official said there were four Indians from Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu and three Emirati nationals aboard the small boat.
The US Navy has ordered a probe, but justified the shooting saying that lethal force was used only after the small boat disregarded warnings and raced toward the US vessel.
"The US 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 calibre machine gun," said a statement issued by the US Fifth Fleet.
This incident comes five months after an Italian navy ship killed two Indian fishermen off the coast off Kerala.
In Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, Karaiyur Fishermen Association President Malairajan said the dead fisherman has been identified as Sekar of Periyapattinam in Ramanathapuram district.
The injured are Muniraj, Panpuvan and Murugan who also hail from Ramanathapuram, he said adding Munira had been admitted to hospital with bullet injuries.
Malairajan said fishermen from Ramanathapuram district were working for Dubai fishing companies on daily wage basis. Lt Gred Raelson, a spokesman for US Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, said a security team aborad the USNS Rappahannock fired from a .50-calibre machinegun on the boat after it disregarded warnings and raced towards the ship.
(With additional information from AP)