Indian fishermen killed by shots from product tanker

Two Indian fishermen have been killed by shots allegedly fired from an Italian product tanker in waters 40 miles off the coast of India's southern state Kerala. According to an Indian navy statement the ship has been identified as the Enrica Lexie.  The Indian government summoned the Italian ambassador Giacomo Sanfelice di Montefor and voiced concern over the killing of two fishermen by security officials of the Italian vessel and underlined that the captain of the ship should cooperate with local authorities. The crew are currently being questioned by police.

The captain of Enrica Lexie, who has been ordered to anchor near a local port, told officials the fishermen were mistaken for pirates after they sailed close to the tanker in a motorised boat, navy spokesman Roy Francis said.

"The security wing fired at the fishermen and the captain has alerted the coast guard about the firing. We are making a detailed investigation," the naval spokesman said.

The incident will cast a spotlight on the increasing use of armed guards aboard merchant vessels and the rules of engagement.