“A man fired from a machine gun continuously for five minutes. It happened suddenly and everything was over even before we could understand what was happening,” said an Indian fisherman who survived the shooting by the United States Navy off the Dubai coast.
“They didn’t even give us time to demonstrate our innocence. Our boat itself became a pool of blood,” said G. Murugan, 40, who was among the eight persons on the motorboat that was targeted by the USNS Rappahannock. Speaking to The Hindu on the phone from a government hospital in Dubai, he said the firing was without any provocation. The U.S. ship did not stop after the firing. Though the fishermen signalled for medical aid, there was no response.
“The Indian government must [make] sincere [efforts] to impress upon the UAE government [the need] to file a case against the naval personnel responsible.”
The boat was sailing at reasonably good speed. It was attempting to go around the U.S. ship when it was fired upon.
Kumaresan, 32, of Thondi, another eyewitness, said the cabin crew, who were Arabs, did not slow down despite calls from him and fellow fishermen. They were not sure what prompted the U.S. naval personnel to open fire.
“The moment was terrifying. I have never come across such a dreadful moment… We were targeted from just 50 metres. I escaped by lying down near the cabin. We paid a heavy price for no fault on our part. There was absolutely no reason to open fire at us,” Kumaresan said.
The incident occurred very close to the harbour, and they were able to quickly move the injured to hospital. A few Indians working in Dubai visited the injured.