DUBAI, Apr 16 (Reuters) The U S Navy today denied reports Sunday that a U S-flagged yacht had been attacked by pirates off the coast of Yemen.
A Navy spokesman confirmed that the yacht had issued a distress call after spotting ''people with weapons'' but said no shots were fired and that its three passengers were safe.
''There was no attack and the yacht is still at sea and out of any danger,'' Commander Jeff Breslau, a spokesman for the U S Navy's Fifth Fleet, told Reuters by telephone from Bahrain.
Earlier, the Italian Coastguard said the yacht, Tir Na Nog, had been attacked by pirates wielding rocket launchers.
The vessel's distress call was picked up by an Italian freight ship which had informed the Italian Coastguard.
''The people on board saw people with weapons and they got scared and issued a distress call,'' Breslau said. ''There was no attack by rocket propelled grenades.'' He did not give further details.
In Aden, an official at Yemen's coastguard said he did not have any information about any incident in Yemeni territorial waters.
Yemen shares territorial waters with Somalia, whose coastal waters have become among the world's most dangerous in the 14 years the country has lacked a central government.
REUTERS SI BST1919