U.S. Ship Fires on Boat off Dubai, Killing 1

By MarEx 2012-07-16 12:28:57

Update: July 16, 2012 - 4 p.m.

The American ship that let off the shots has been identified as the U.S. military supply ship USNS Rappahannock. The fuel resupply vessel fired on a small boat in the Persian Gulf from Dubai's port of Jebel Ali.

The small boat appeared to be headed for that port. The U.S. ship verbally warned the smaller boat when it was 1,200 yards away and fired at least one warning shot before the decision was made to fire shots to ultimately disable the boat.

Officials described the course of events as standard procedures when a small boat gets too close to a U.S. Navy ship.

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A U.S. Consulate official in Dubai says an American vessel has fired on a boat off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, killing one person and injuring three.

No further details have been given, but it appears the boat could have been mistaken as a threat in Gulf waters not far from Iran's maritime boundaries.

The boat appeared to be a civilian vessel about 30 feet long and driven by three outboard motors. Similar boats are used for fishing in the region, although Iran's Revolutionary Guard also puts relatively small, fast-moving craft in the Gulf. After numerous police and officials gathered, the boat was soon moved for the Dubai harbor where it was docked.

A rescue official on scene confirmed the casualty toll. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the incident between the two allies.

The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, which is based in Bahrain, said it was investigating the Monday shooting. The U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi had no immediate comment.

Tensions are raised in the Gulf after Iran recently renewed threats to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz — the route for one-fifth of the world's oil — in retaliation for tighter sanctions over Tehran's nuclear program. The U.S. recently boosted its naval presence in the Gulf with additional minesweepers and other warships.