Bloomberg News

U.S. Envoy Vows Probe After Navy Firing Kills Indian Off Dubai

July 17, 2012

U.S. Ambassador to India Nancy Powell called the country’s foreign secretary, Ranjan Mathai, to offer her regret for the loss of life after an American navy ship opened fire on a fishing boat off the coast of Dubai.

Powell vowed a full investigation, according to a statement from India’s foreign ministry. The shooting killed one Indian fisherman and wounded three others, the ministry said in the statement, citing U.A.E. officials it didn’t name.

“An embarked security team aboard a U.S. Navy vessel fired upon a small motor vessel after it disregarded warnings and rapidly approached the U.S. ship,” Lt. Greg Raelson, a media officer for the U.S. Navy, said in an e-mail. The incident occurred at 2:50 p.m. local time yesterday, 10 miles off the port of Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates, he said.

The incident happened near the Strait of Hormuz, where tensions have risen this year as Iranian officials threatened to shut down the waterway in response to increased U.S. and European pressure. Western sanctions on oil and other products aim to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons technology that Iran maintains it isn’t seeking.

The USNS Rappahannock issued warnings to the smaller vessel by voice, radio and light signals before firing, a U.S. official said. The vessel, a 41,000-ton fleet replenishment oiler operated by the U.S. Navy’s Sealift Command and staffed mostly by civilians, also carried a security team, the Navy said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Williams in New Delhi at mwilliams108@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net


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