The deceased has been identified as Sekar. He hailed from Periyapattinam in Ramanathapuram district. Panpuvan, Murugan and Muniraj who sustained bullet injuries are also natives of Ramanathapuram. A large number of fishermen from the district reportedly worked for a Dubai-based fishing companies.
According to UAE Foreign Ministry official Tariq Ahmed Al Haidan, the "concerned authorities" are investigating the firing at Jabel Ali that is around 30 miles southwest of Dubai. US Navy ships often dock at Jabel Ali.
Security personnel of USNS Rappahannock had warned those on the boat before opening fire from a .50-calibre machine gun, Lieutenant Gred Raelson of US Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet claimed. An inquiry is underway, he added.
The Indian Embassy in Washington has contacted the Pentagon and the State Department to get more details. In a similar incident, Italian marines on board 'Enrica Lexie' had shot dead two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast earlier this year in Feb.
In this case, the boat carrying the four Indian fishermen is said to be around 9 metres long. Three motors powered it. Such motorboats are preferred by many fishermen in the Gulf.
However, the US Navy sees them as a big threat. In Oct 2000, al-Qaeda used a small boat to carry out a suicide mission against USS Cole while the latter was docked for refuelling in the Yemeni port of Aden. Seventeen American sailors lost their lives while 39 others were seriously hurt in the attack.