The USNS Rappahannock has fired on a vessel in the Persian Gulf today after that vessel refused to heed warnings. One person has been killed and three injured.
Initial reports from BBC News, The Associated Press and Gulf News show the vessel fired on the boat when it did not heed warnings and appeared to be heading towards the ship near the port of Jebel Ali in Dubai.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Navy's fifth fleet stationed on the island kingdom of Bahrain has stated that sailors aboard the Rappahannock sent warnings to the boat before opening fire on it. At present it is known that one person in the boat has been killed in this engagement and three have been injured.
This engagement could have been as a result of the mistaken belief of the existence of a threat by the U.S. sailors given the narrow confines of the gulf waters which are situated near Iranian waters.
The boat shot up was small, white-hulled and appeared to be a civilian craft. Such boats are ubiquitous in the gulf. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards often use small motor crafts for interception. In January of 2008 there was a tense moment when five such vessels ventured close to three U.S. Navy missile destroyers.
That incident raised the price of oil to $100 a barrel.