Cyprus has issued a statement condemning Turkey for issuing a new NAVTEX under which, a seismic vessel owned by a Turkish oil company will carry out survey offshore southern Cyprus.
To remind, Nicos Anastasiades, the president of Cyprus in October suspended the reunification talks with the Turkish side, accusing Turkey of undermining Cyprus’ offshore exploration plans and violating its sovereign right by deploying a seismic vessel in Cypriot waters. Turkey had issued its first NAVTEX in October, reserving the area offshore Cyprus for the TPAO-owned seismic vessel from October 20 to December 30.
On Monday, Anastasiades reiterated he would not be joining peace talks as long as Turkey kept on violating sovereign rights of Cyprus.
Turkey has this week issued a second navigational warning for seafarers (NAVTEX) with coordinates in waters south of Cyprus, reserving the area for the Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa seismic vessel and MV Bravo Supporter and MV Kofso vessels.
According to the NAVTEX, the vessels would begin operations on January 6, and are scheduled to remain in the area, near the place where Eni is drilling for gas, by April 6, 2015. Italy’s Eni, together with South Korea’s KOGAS, authorized by the official Cypriot government, began drilling operations in the area, in September last year.
Famagusta Gazzete, a Cyprus-based newspaper has launched a video footage reportedly showing the Barbaros Hayredding Pasa departing from the Famagusta port on January 6, and leaving towards the NAVTEX designated area to carry out seismic surveys. However, data on MarineTraffic shows the vessel is still anchored near the port.
Following the second NAVTEX announcement, the Cyprus’ government spokesman Nikos Christodoulides said :“Today’s new violation of international law by the Turkish Government is a clear affirmation of the charges made by President Anastasiades and the Government of the Republic of Cyprus about the real intentions of Turkey and the leadership of the Turkish Cypriots. “
“…the new Turkish decision to issue a Navtex complicates matters even more, while, at the same time, makes it obvious to even the most mistrustful, who is responsible for the current stagnation, the suspension of the talks and the continuous threat for further instability in the Eastern Mediterranean region,” the spokesman said.
He added: “The international community collectively, the United Nations, but also specific states that have special relations and role, ought to recognize the cause of the problem, in other words the real intentions of Ankara, and thereby ascribe responsibilities and direct their efforts where they should.”
The Turkish Cypriots’ foreign ministry this week said that the deployment of the Turkish seismic vessel was was a response to the Greek Cypriot Administration (GCA) unilateral drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, where the Eni/KOGAS consortium is operating the Saipem 10.000 drillship, searching for natural gas.
Offshore Energy Today Staff, Image: Shipspotting