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Tamil fisherman killed in U.S. firing in Dubai

Dubai, July 17 (): A Tamil fisherman has been killed and three others seriously injured after a security team aboard a Military Sealift Command fleet oiler has fired on a boat near Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates.

The killed Tamil fisherman has been identified as Sekar of Periyapattinam in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu. The three injured are Panpuvan, Muniaraj and Murugan are also from Ramanathapuram. An unnamed UAE official said the fishing boat had four Indians and two Emirate nationals on board. Muniraj had been admitted to hospital with bullet injuries, said Malairajan, Karaiyur Fishermen Association President. He also added that fishermen from Ramanathapuram district were working for Dubai fishing companies on daily wage basis.

The incident, took place about 48 kilometers off the Jebel Ali port near Dubai. “The UAE concerned authorities are investigating the shooting incident,” said Foreign Ministry official Tariq Ahmed Al Haidan.

The boat appeared to be a civilian vessel about 30 feet long and powered by three outboard motors. The small motor vessel disregarded warnings of the approached the U.S. ship near Jebel Ali. Emirati officials and the police surrounded the white-hulled motorised boat and warned the vessel’s operators to turn away from their deliberate approach. “When the efforts failed to stop the approaching vessel, the security team on the Rappahannock fired rounds from a .50-calibre machine gun.”

The Navy force protection procedures, said a statement from Fifth Fleet, the sailors on the USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204) used a series of non-lethal, pre-planned responses to warn the vessel before resorting to lethal force. The U.S. naval activity in this area has been stepped up after tensions with Iran.

The Indian Embassy in Washington got in touch with the Pentagon and the State Department soon after the incident to seek its details, sources said. The incident is under investigation.

In 2000, two suicide bomber terrorists rammed an explosives-laden boat into the USS Cole, blowing a massive hole in its side and killing 17 US sailors.