Two days before his arrest by the Kerala police from the oil tanker Enrica Lexie, Italian marine Massimiliano Latorre had sent a report to the special operational group of the Italian military police Carabinieri and the public prosecutor's office in Rome stating that the ship's satellite data confirmed that the tanker was in international waters at the time of the incident in which “warning shots were fired at the Indian fishing vessel St. Antony.”
Mr. Latorre was in charge of the security unit on board. His report, excerpts of which appeared in the prominent Italian newspaper ‘Corriere della Sera' on February 20, said that “the shots were aimed into the sea across the bow of the fishing boat which was not hit and in fact, changed direction and turned back.”
While the report named the marines who had fired the shots, it denied that there could have been any casualties.
The report is being used by the public prosecutor in Rome Francesco Scavo Lombardo to investigate the incident.
Along with marine Salvatore Girone, Mr. Latorre was arrested by the Kerala police on Sunday on the charge of killing two fishermen on the boat they shot at.
The report said the incident had occurred at 11.30 a.m. (Italian time) when the ship was 33 nautical miles off the southwest coast of India, and that the position was confirmed by the ship's satellite link.
The report tried to convey a message that the two fishermen could have been killed in a separate incident since the same evening there was “another pirate attack not far away.”
Mr. Latorre included three photographs in his report to substantiate the claim that the fishing boat shot at by security personnel from Enrica Lexie was not the boat St. Antony.
However, the report in the Italian newspaper said the photos were poorly focussed and did not clarify whether, as the marines said, there were five armed men on board the fishing boat.
The report filed by Mr. Latorre said the ship's radar had picked up the fishing vessel on a collision course and when the boat was 500 metres away, the first warning shot was fired.
The second was fired when it was 300 metres away from the ship, and the third into the water without hitting the boat when it was 100 metres away.
However, the inspection of the boat by Indian authorities has revealed that several bullets had hit the boat.
In spite of the report by Mr. Latorre, the ‘Corriere della Sera' posed the question that if the ship was in international waters as reported by the marines, why did it enter the Indian waters enabling the Indian authorities to detain the ship and the arrest the two marines, and said that there was mystery about the ship's route.