A US Navy security team fired on a small motor boat off the coast of Dubai, United Arab Emirates Monday, after the small vessel “disregarded warnings and rapidly approached” the US Navy ship, the Rappahonnock, the Pentagon said Monday.
“The U.S. crew repeatedly attempted to warn the vessel’s operators to turn away from their deliberate approach,” the US Navy/Centrall Command said in a press statement sent to Pentagon reporters Monday. “When those efforts failed to deter the approaching vessel, the security team on the Rappahannock fired rounds from a .50-caliber machine gun.”
The incident, near Jebel Ali, UAE, is under investigation. The nationality of those aboard the motor boat is not yet known or being released, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy Central Command told Al Monitor. “At this time I don’t have that information, the incident is still under investigation,” US Navy spokesman Ltn. Greg Raelson told Al Monitor by email.
ABC News reported that the small motor boat was not from Iran. “I can’t emphasize enough that this has nothing to do with Iran,” an unnamed Navy official told ABC News.
The Pentagon did not confirm reports of casualties. Gulf News also reported that “one person was killed and three were injured,” in the incident, according to Emirati rescue workers and local press reports.
“Word of the shooting comes on the same day that the Pentagon confirmed that it had agreed to a recent request from U.S. Central Command to maintain a two carrier presence in the Middle East,” ABC News reported.
“This is not about any one particular country, or threat,” Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters Monday.
(Photo: Sailors aboard the U.S. 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge stand-by to move pallets of humanitarian relief supplies across the ship’s flight deck in this handout image obtained March 12, 2011 during an underway replenishment with the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock, not pictured. REUTERS/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Fidel C. Hart-US Navy/Handout )