Monday 25 September 2017

One killed, three injured as US Navy ship shoots at Gulf boat

US Navy supply ship Rappahannock fired upon a small motor boat off the United Arab Emirates yesterday after it ignored warnings to halt its approach.
US Navy supply ship Rappahannock fired upon a small motor boat off the United Arab Emirates yesterday after it ignored warnings to halt its approach.

Adam Schreck in Dubai

A US Navy ship opened fire on a small boat racing toward it yesterday near the Gulf city of Dubai, killing one person, according to American officials.

Lt Greg Raelson, a spokes- man for the Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, said a security team aboard the USNS Rappahannock issued a series of warnings before resorting to lethal force near Dubai's Jebel Ali port.

"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," he said in an emailed response to questions. Lt Raelson said the incident was being investigated.

The Rappahannock is a supply vessel used to fuel other navy ships at sea.

Ally

The United Arab Emirates, which includes the commercial hub of Dubai and the oil-rich capital Abu Dhabi, is a key US ally in the Gulf. American warships frequently visit Dubai's Jebel Ali port, a popular rest stop among US sailors.

A US consular official told reporters that one person was killed and three were wounded in the shooting. The official gave no other details, but it appeared US personnel could have seen the boat -- mistakenly or not -- as a threat in Gulf waters not far from Iran's sea boundaries.

The white-hulled boat was inspected by police and other Emirati officials after the incident.

The boat appeared to be a civilian vessel about 30 feet (9 meters) long and powered by three outboard motors. It had no obvious military markings.

Similar boats are used for fishing in the region, though Iran's Revolutionary Guard also employs relatively small, fast-moving craft in the Gulf.

Rescue workers were seen carrying one person in a body bag off the boat and placing it in an ambulance as fishermen looked on. Officials moved the boat from the harbour shortly afterward.

Irish Independent

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