Map of Venezuela and Guyana with the area of Guyana claimed by Venezuela shown in Gray. Venezuela’s waters and EEZ shown in darker blue. From Wikipedia, Source: Shadowxfox by Sparkve
BBC is reporting a US operated oil exploration vessel has been “detained” by Venezuela. Five Americans are reported among the crew.
The ship sails under a Panamanian flag and is owned by Singaporean marine surveying company.
“Our first concern is the safety of the crew of the MV Teknik Perdana research vessel, which was under contract to our company and conducting a seafloor survey on behalf of the government of Guyana,” said a spokesperson for Anadarko (based in Woodlands, TX–Chuck), Brian Cain.
“We are fully cooperating with the Government of Guyana, the US coast guard and embassy personnel in an effort to achieve the safe release of the crew and vessel,” Mr Cain added.
Venezuela and Guyana have a dispute with roots going back to the 17th century, over the Essequibo region that includes almost 60% of Guyana, 159,500 square km between the Cuyuni River to the west and the Essequibo River to the east.
Since the maritime boundaries are based on the land borders, the maritime borders are also in dispute. Tempers had been relatively cool over this dispute. This is probably just a “shot across the bow” by Venezuela, as a warning to its much weaker neighbor. Still, for Coast Guard units operating in the area, it might be worth keeping in mind.
More here: http://gcaptain.com/venezuela-detains-americans-research-vessel-anadark/
Much more information here (http://www.stabroeknews.com/2013/news/stories/10/11/venezuela-detains-research-vessel-in-local-waters-guyana-protests/) including information on an earlier Venezuelan incursion on land, the location of the vessel at the time of the seizure and the identity of Venezuela’s ship, PC-23 Yekuana, it was one of these: https://chuckhillscgblog.net/2011/05/24/venezuelas-new-offshore-patrol-cutter/
Incidentally Guyana has virtually no navy or CG, according to Combat Fleets of the World their “Defense Forces Sea Division” includes 180 members, four ex-USCG 44ft MLBs and a 14 knot, 770 ton full load, former British patrol vessel armed only with small arms.
Venezuela has released the Panamanian flag vessel and its crew. http://cimsec.org/catch-and-release/
“If this story has a happy ending it is that Venezuela and Guyana said in August that they would seek help from the UN to solve their squabble, and this incident may act as further impetus. This doesn’t mean claimants always abide by the rulings (see neighboring Colombia’s reaction over its dispute with Nicaragua), but they at least tend to keep things peaceful.”
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