Big navies wary of ‘Sea Tiger’ type tactics – SL
US attack on Tamil Nadu trawler near Gulf:July 18, 2012, 10:38 pm
By Shamindra Ferdinando
The Sri Lankan military yesterday said that LTTE tactics continued to trouble naval forces all over the world, though the group’s naval wing, the Sea Tigers, no longer posed a threat.
Although there hadn’t been any conclusive evidence of the Sea Tigers sharing their experience and expertise with foreign terrorist elements, navies remained wary of possible attacks using LTTE tactics, a senior official said.
He was commenting on the US Navy firing, on Monday, at a small boat rapidly advancing towards it near Dubai, killing one Indian fisherman and wounding three. The 30 foot (9 meters) long boat had been powered by three outboard motors.
Tamil Nadu media quoted Karaiyur Fishermen’s Association President Malairajan as having identified the dead as Sekar of Periyapattinam in Ramanathapuram district. The injured are Muniraj, Panpuvan and Murugan, all residents of Tamil Nadu.
The international media quoted Lt. Greg Raelson, a spokesman for the US Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet as having said that a security team aboard the USNS ‘Rappahannock’ issued a series of warnings before resorting to lethal force near Dubai’s Jebel Ali port.
On February, 15, 2012, an Italian security team on board ‘Enrica Lexie’ shot dead two Indian fishermen off Kerala. The Italian’s opened fire in international waters after mistakenly identifying them as pirates.
Sri Lankan sources pointed out that following the suicide bombing of USS Cole on Oct 12, 2000, in Aden killing 17 US personnel, the then Sea Tiger leader, Soosai, in an interview with BBC, boasted that Al Qaeda had adopted their tactics. Sources asserted that those on board USNS ‘Rappahannock’ probably feared the rapidly approaching craft posed a threat.
During the war, the SLN lost many craft in suicide attacks launched by the Sea Tigers. The Scandinavian truce monitoring contingent, too, had an opportunity to witness the use of explosives packed boats by the Sea Tigers to target big ships during the Norwegian arranged Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) in the northern seas.
"The U.S. crew repeatedly attempted to warn the vessel’s operators to turn away from their deliberate approach. When those efforts failed to deter the approaching vessel, the security team on Rappahannock fired rounds from a .50-caliber machine gun," Lt. Raelson was also quoted as having said.
The US Navy termed the boat’s movements as a "deliberate approach’’ and when it did not turn away, the ship’s security team opened deadly fire using a .50 caliber machinegun.
The ‘Rappahannock’ is an oiler used to fuel other Navy ships, while they are at sea.
Khaleej Times quoted the Indian Ambassador to the UAE, M. K. Lokesh as having said that Indian foreign minister S. M. Krishna wanted the Indian embassy to approach the UAE authorities to take legal action against those responsible for the incident. "We have taken up the issue and we are pursuing the matter with both UAE and US authorities," the envoy said.
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Last Updated May 24 2013 | 07:02 pm