NEW DELHI (AP) — The United States has compensated the family of a dead Indian fisherman and given assistance to three survivors of a U.S. Navy ship's firing on their small boat near Dubai last month, the U.S. Embassy said Wednesday.
The money will not influence the investigation into the July 16 shooting, embassy spokesman Lee McManis said in a statement.
Although the embassy did not disclose the payment amounts, Dubai media reported they would match payments from Tamil Nadu, the fishermen's home state in southern India.
The Tamil Nadu government said last month that it would pay 500,000 rupees ($9,100) to the family of the fisherman who was killed. The injured were to receive 50,000 rupees ($910).
The details of the payment were worked out by the U.S. in consultation with the Tamil Nadu government, India's External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said in New Delhi.
Newspapers in Dubai reported that the wounded fishermen were not happy with the assistance.
Pandu Sanathan told the Khaleej Times that he would like to see the Indian government push for payments similar to those offered families of two Indian fishermen shot dead by Italian marines who mistook them for pirates earlier this year. Italy has agreed to pay nearly $200,000 to each of the families in that shooting.
"A political leader has also raised this demand," said Sanathan, who still has pain from the shooting and is not sure when he will be able to walk again. "I hope they will look into it as we were shot at not because of our fault."
Another wounded fisherman, Muthu Kannan, said the amount will not cover his increasing medical bills or the money he needs until he can return to work.
"I am not sure when I can go back to work," he told The National newspaper. "My children have to study, and I am the only earning member of the family. I don't know how I will manage."
The U.S. Navy said the fishermen's boat rapidly approached the refueling ship USNS Rappahannock near Dubai's Jebel Ali port and that the boat disregarded warnings before the Navy vessel's gunners opened fire. One of the Indian survivors has said they received no warning.
Tensions are high in the Gulf after Iran threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz — the route for one-fifth of the world's oil — in retaliation for tighter sanctions over its nuclear program.
The U.S. recently boosted its naval presence in the Gulf with additional minesweepers and other warships. The Pentagon said Monday it is sending another aircraft carrier to the Middle East several months early to ensure it has two carriers continuously in the region.