Both the United States and the United Arab Emirates are investigating the death of an Indian fisherman, after his boat was shot at Monday by a U.S. Navy ship near Dubai.
The American Embassy in New Delhi issued a statement Tuesday confirming that a small vessel had rapidly approached the USNS Rappahannock refueling ship, which gave several nonlethal warnings. After the warnings were ignored, the boat came under fire killing one and injuring three other Indian fishermen.
“We wish to inform you that the incident is under investigation,” reads the statement, which also conveys condolences to the families of crewmembers.
Dubai-based National newspaper reported one of the fishermen, 28-year-old Muthu Muniraj, saying that no warnings had been issued to the ship, which was off the coast of Jebel Ali at the time. “Usually, we know alarms and sirens are sounded by ships,” he said.
In describing the incident, Muniraj said, “When we came close, we slowed down to let them pass to avoid any accidents,” according to the publication. Muniraj was shot in his right leg.
Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna called the killing “unfortunate” and later told the Press Trust of India that the “UAE has filed a case in this incident and they are proceeding according to the laws of that country.” Krishna added that he hopes “necessary action” will be taken by the United States.
In 2000, a small craft loaded with explosives detonated near the USS Cole at the Yemen port of Aden, killing 17 sailors on board the destroyer. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the suicide attack.