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  • OTRI.USA
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American Shipper

Shots fired by Navy “security team” apparently killed Egyptian

Shots fired by Navy “security team” apparently killed Egyptian

Shots fired by Navy “security team” apparently killed Egyptian

The U.S. Navy expressed regrets that shots fired by a Navy security team on board a merchant ship chartered by the Military Sealift Command apparently killed an Egyptian man Tuesday morning in an incident at the entrance to the Suez Canal.

   The sailors on the ship fired warning shots at a boat approaching the ship when it failed to turn away. While the Navy had originally said the warning shots had entered the water, it said today the bullets apparently killed a man.

   “We express our deepest sympathies to the family of the deceased,” said Vice Adm. Kevin J. Cosgriff, Commander, U.S. Fifth Fleet. “We are greatly saddened by events that apparently resulted in this accidental death. This situation is tragic, and we will do our utmost to help take care of the family of the deceased.”

   Mohammed Fouad died and was buried Tuesday amid expressions of anger against the Egyptian government and the United States by family members. There were reports that two other men on the boat were also wounded.

   Small ships commonly approach vessels entering the canal to sell seafarers local merchandise, but the Navy is wary of small boats approaching its vessels.

   Lt. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman with Fifth Fleet Public Affairs in Bahrain, said security teams made up of Navy personnel are placed on merchant ships chartered by the Military Sealift Command, at least when they are sailing in the Middle East. He was not certain if the same policy was in effect throughout the world.

   The Navy’s Fifth Fleet Command said it would work cooperatively with Egyptian authorities, including the Suez Canal Authority through the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. A full investigation into the incident is underway.

   “We will work through the investigation very thoroughly, coordinating with authorities and the embassy, to get a full account of what happened,” Cosgriff stated.

   The security team on board the Global Patriot fired warning shots at a small boat approaching the ship as it was preparing to transit the Suez Canal Monday night, at about 8 p.m. Two other boats had also approached the chartered ship but turned away following warnings from Global Patriot.

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