Killing of Fishermen

…From 500 meters away, gunshots erupted from the tanker toward Quanas’s skiff and its unarmed fishermen. Two rounds pierced the water on the motorboat’s starboard side, and a third slammed into Quanas’s face….

Fighting Piracy Goes Awry With Killings of Fishermen

By Alan Katz, Bloomberg

The Nordic Fighter tanker was sailing south in the Red Sea under oppressive summer heat as Mohammed Ali Quanas headed west to catch kingfish on Aug. 3, 2011, the last day of his life.

Dressed in a blue t-shirt and a traditional Yemeni red patterned skirt, Quanas began cooking the evening meal for the seven other men in the narrow, rented skiff as the sun leaned toward the horizon. With the gap narrowing between the skiff and the massive black tanker, some 25 times the length and width of their red, white and blue motor boat, they say they curved away to the northwest to keep their usual distance from merchant vessels, as did two other fishing skiffs working nearby from their home port of Hodeidah, Yemen.

From 500 meters (1,640 feet) away, gunshots erupted from the tanker toward Quanas’s skiff and its unarmed fishermen. Two rounds pierced the water on the motorboat’s starboard side, and a third slammed into Quanas’s face, just under his right eye, according to survivors on the boat and a Yemeni Coast Guard investigation. As the bullet came through the back of his neck, Quanas moaned, held out a hand, collapsed and died.

“He was killed while he was holding some dough for dinner,” says Quanas’s uncle, Hasan Abdullah Quanas, who was in the prow and saw his nephew fall. Hasan abandoned fishing after the shooting for fear that he too could become collateral damage in the increasingly violent fight to tame piracy on the high seas.

Having Nightmares

“I still have nightmares that someone is firing at me,” he says.

Russian soldiers aboard the Norwegian-flagged ship fired the bullets that August day, according to a report from a private security team that was also on the tanker. The soldiers had been temporarily assigned to……[access full article]

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