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US Navy shooting incident: India seeks action against sailors

Sajila Saseendran / 17 July 2012

India has sought action against the US Navy sailors who opened fire at a boat off the coast of Dubai, killing one Indian fisherman and injuring three others on Monday.

The Indian Ambassador to the UAE M.K. Lokesh told Khaleej Times that Indian foreign minister S. M. Krishna asked the Indian Embassy to approach the UAE authorities to take legal action against those responsible for the incident. “We have taken up the issue and we are pursuing the matter with both UAE and US authorities,” the envoy said this morning.

“The UAE has already registered a case and begun investigation. The US has also started (its) own investigation. Hopefully, action will be taken soon in accordance with the law,” Lokesh said.

He said the Indian Consulate in Dubai has been authorized to provide all assistance to the victims and their families. Senior officials from the Consulate have already visited the victims at Rashid Hospital in Dubai. All four victims hail from the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

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US Navy ship fires on fishing boat off Jebel Ali Port

“I was told that the three men in the hospital are stable. We are trying to get in touch with the families,” said Lokesh.

Reports from Tamil Nadu quoted Karaiyur Fishermen Association President Malairajan as identifying the deceased as Sekar of Periyapattinam in Ramanathapuram district. The injured are Muniraj, Panpuvan and Murugan who also hail from Ramanathapuram, he said.

The US Navy supply ship opened fire on Monday evening on a fishing boat near the mouth of Jebel Ali Port in the emirate of Dubai, a UAE Foreign Ministry official said told state news agency WAM on Monday night.

Dr Tariq Ahmed Al Haidan, Assistant to UAE Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, said an Indian fisherman was killed and three others, also Indians, were seriously injured. “The UAE authorities concerned are investigating the shooting incident.”

A US Navy 5th Fleet statement said an embarked security team aboard the USNS Rappahannock fired at the small motor vessel after it did not heed the warnings. It said the incident is under investigation.

The statement said the boat “rapidly approached’’ the Rappahannock near Jebel Ali port.

“In accordance with Navy force protection procedures, the sailors on the USNS Rappahannock used a series of non-lethal preplanned responses to warn the vessel before resorting to lethal force,’’ it said.

The US Navy termed the boat’s movements as a “deliberate approach’’ and when it did not turn away, the ship’s security team opened deadly fire using a .50 caliber machinegun.


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