U.S. Navy releases image of the small motor vessel fired upon by USNS Rappahannock off the United Arab Emirates

Here’s the U.S. Navy’s official version of the incident that occurred on Jul. 16, off the United Arab Emirates:

An embarked security team aboard the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204) fired upon a small motor vessel after it disregarded warnings and rapidly approached the U.S. ship near Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates.

In accordance with Navy force protection procedures, the sailors aboard Rappahannock used a series of non-lethal, preplanned responses to warn the vessel before resorting to lethal force.

The U.S. 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 Rappahannock fired rounds from a 50-caliber machine gun. The incident is under investigation.

An Indian fisherman was killed.

The episode, with conflicting versions from both sides, reminds the incident occurred 30 miles off the southern Indian coast on Feb. 15, 2012, when two Italian Navy riflemen belonging to the San Marco Battalion, fired three sets of warning shots for deterrence against a boat, allegedly killing two Indian fishermen.

The incident sparked a diplomatic crisis between Italy and India, and the two military, on board the merchant ship Enrica Lexie as Military Security Team, are still under custody in India.

Anyway, after releasing a low resolution image of the small motor vessel involved in the incident, the Navy has uploaded to Flickr a hi-rez version of the photo, that can be useful for further analysis.

Image credit: U.S. Navy

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.