An American Navy ship fired on a boat in the Persian Gulf today, killing one person and injuring three others aboard the craft, U.S. naval officials told ABC News.
Lt. Greg Raelson, a spokesperson for the Navy's 5th Fleet, which is based in nearby Bahrain, said that a security team aboard the oil supply ship U.S.N.S. Rappahannock fired a .50 caliber machine gun at a "small motor vessel after it disregarded warnings and rapidly approached the U.S. ship" off the coast of Jebel Ali, a city approximately 30 miles from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
The Navy has launched a joint investigation with the UAE into the incident as details continue to emerge. A defense official described the offending vessel was a white pleasure craft, but two UAE officials told ABC News it was a fishing boat with four Indians and two Emiratis on board. The UAE's official news agency identified an Indian fisherman as the man who was killed.
Raelson said the small motor vessel that was hit by gunfire from the Rappahannock was "approaching at a high rate of speed" and "on a deliberate approach."
Another Navy official said it was "on a course that would have caused it to impact the Rappahanock... It wasn't just close, it was on a course that would have ultimately taken it to impact."
Word of the shooting comes on the same day that the Pentagon confirmed that it had agreed to a recent request from U.S. Central Command to maintain a two carrier presence in the Middle East.
The carrier U.S.S. John C. Stennis has been ordered to head to the region four months ahead of schedule in September to replace the outgoing U.S.S. Enterprise. A Pentagon spokesman said the Stennis is being sent so that there is no gap in between two carrier assignments to the region.
On Sunday, the U.S.S. Eisenhower replaced the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in the region. By replacing the Enterprise, the U.S. will now be able to avoid having just one carrier in the region.