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News Link • Military

US navy in troubled waters

•, Jane Ferguson

The perceived threat of a tiny fishing boat has now turned into a huge embarrassment for the US navy here in the Gulf.

As soon as news of the shooting broke on Monday afternoon, the navy said the USNS Rappahannock's crew had issued warnings to the approaching fishing boat - warnings which they said were not heeded, leading them to open fire with a .50 calibre machine gun.

They killed one Indian sailor and injured three others.

More embarrassing however, is the bold challenge against the navy's account of the incident.

“They were given no warning,” MK Lokesh, the Indian ambassador to the UAE, told me by telephone, a statement reverberating around news outlets for most of today.

The surviving sailors have told reporters the same thing.

But the ambassador also said the navy ship did not stop when it recognised the mistake, or offer any assistance to the bullet-riddled boat.

“They didn't come to the aid of the people,” he said. “They sailed off.”

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