Venezuela Detains Ship in Waters Claimed by Guyana
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Guyana's government said that Venezuela's navy has detained a ship operated by a US oil company in waters disputed by the neighboring South American countries.
The ship, which has five US citizens on board, was conducting a seismic survey under contract for Anadarko Petroleum Corp. on Thursday when it was stopped by a Venezuelan navy vessel.
It was ordered to sail under escort to Margarita Island in Venezuela, the Guyanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement, AP reported.
Venezuela said it legitimately detained the vessel for operating without authorization in its waters. Its government said the ship, Teknik Perdana, was expected to arrive on Margarita Island on Saturday.
Guyana said the crew was well within its territorial waters but that the Venezuelan navy informed them that they were operating in that country's exclusive economic zone and ordered an immediate halt to the survey. The two countries have been disputing their land and ocean borders for decades.
Venezuelan oil minister Rafael Ramirez said the country was obligated to act if a ship was in its maritime zone without authorization. "We will jealously defend our country and our sovereignty," he said when asked about the incident at a news conference in Caracas.
The minister said that Guyana and Venezuela have been in discussions over oil exploration in the area but he declined to discuss the status of those talks.