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.