Oct 15, 2013 News
…36 crewmembers to be held on board as investigations continue
Five American citizens were among the crew of a U.S.-chartered oil exploration ship seized by the Venezuelan navy in Guyana waters on Thursday.
Authorities from Venezuela escorted the vessel into port at Venezuela’s Margarita Island on Sunday and said they would be held on board along with the other crewmembers while an investigation continued.
Admiral Angel Belisario Martinez has told the Venezuelan media outfit, ‘Union Radio’ that the research ship was conducting “unauthorized scientific work” in Venezuela’s exclusive economic zone. He said the case had been turned over to prosecutors.
Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry had said Friday that the ship and its crew would be subject to an “inquiry under the International Maritime Law and pursuant to the safeguarding of our sovereignty in maritime areas.”
The 285-foot survey ship, Teknik Perdana, was detained by then Venezuelan Navy, in what Guyana maintains from a part of its coastal Exclusive Economic Zone.
Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett and her Venezuelan counterparts have since agreed to meet and hold discussions on the impasse.
People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Member of Parliament, Dr Vindhya Persaud, yesterday announced that Minister Carolyn Rodgrigues-Birkett and her Venezuelan counterpart will meet on Friday.
Dr. Persaud was at the time speaking at the party’s weekly press briefing at Freedom House. She reiterated that the PPP has always advocated for diplomatic and peaceful alternatives to address issues of mutual concern between neighbouring states and as such, the party supports a peaceful resolution to the current situation.
She added, “We firmly believe that this process has been advanced over the years to a stage where our nation enjoys cooperative and meaningful relations with our neighbours.”
Dr. Persaud said that in the case of Venezuela, “this is evidenced in a number of bilateral engagements and exchange visits between our two nations which redound to the benefit of the citizens in each state. Hence, this recent development is to be regretted.
She concluded that the PPP supports the employment of all peaceful means to resolve this unfortunate development in the shortest possible timeframe and to ensure there is no recurrence in the future.
The vessel, sailing under a Panamanian flag, was conducting a seismic study for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation under a concession from Guyana.
Texas-based Anadarko said that it was working with the U.S. and Guyana Governments to secure the release of the crew and the vessel.
Gregory Adams, spokesman for the US Embassy in Caracas, is reported as telling the Associated Press, that the embassy had not been given any official information on the five detained US citizens.
The ship crew includes two Britons, two Russians, a Frenchman, five Ukrainians, two Brazilians, five Malaysians and 14 Indonesians.
The move by the Venezuelan military has since drawn condemnation from the Government of Guyana and the major political opposition party, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
Both Government and APNU have called the move to seize the vessel from Guyana’s waters and detain it in Venezuela a threat to international peace.
According to the local Foreign Affairs Ministry, “These actions by the Venezuelan naval vessel are unprecedented in Guyana Venezuela relations.”
The Ministry is adamant that “one point is clear and that is, that the MV Teknik Perdana was in Guyana’s waters when this incident took place.”
Guyana had requested the immediate release of the vessel and its crew but this is yet to occur.
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