US vessel 'shoots at Suez
The Global Patriot, carrying used US military equipment, was in the
Gulf of Suez when it was approached by a motorboat selling local
Its crew apparently fired after the boat failed to heed warnings to
stop when asked, the US navy said.
It added that it was in contact with Egypt through the US embassy in
As many as 100 other local vessels are said to have gathered at the
scene, carrying hawkers demanding an inquiry.
Some 7.5% of world sea trade passes through the Suez Canal, which is
190km long (118 miles) and 120m wide (395ft) at its narrowest point.
It was after sunset on Monday when a motorboat carrying three local
Egyptian traders approached the Global Patriot in the Gulf of Suez as it
prepared to sail towards the Mediterranean, according to Egyptian
The Global Patriot's crew are reported to have ordered the motorboat to
stop and when it did not, they opened fire, killing Mohammed Fouad and
wounding two others, the officials added.
A US naval spokeswoman, Cdr Lydia Robertson, said that the Global
Patriot had warned the small boats to turn away "via bridge-to-bridge
radio and a series of warning steps".
"One small boat continued to approach the motor vessel, which then
reportedly fired warning shots."
Confirming that the incident was under investigation, she added:
"Fleet authorities are working cooperatively with Egyptian authorities
through the US Embassy in Cairo."
A spokesman for Global Container Lines told the Associated Press that
he had no information about the incident.
According to the US Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC), the Global
Patriot is a US-flagged roll-on, roll-off container ship chartered from
Global Container Lines.
In the past, it has been used by the MSC to transport a US military
Patriot Missile defence battery, ammunition, and MRAP (Mine Resistant
Ambush Protected) vehicles around the world.
On this occasion, the Global Patriot is said to have been transporting
used US military equipment from Dubai.
The BBC's Heba Saleh in Cairo says fisherman and small boats carrying
hawkers ply the waters of the canal trying to sell cigarettes and other
local products to ship passing through.
It is not clear why those on board the Global Patriot opened fire.
Al-Qaeda militants have in the past used small motorboats to attack US
military and other foreign vessels in waters off the coast of Yemen, our