Turkish vessels were reported to have been harassing the Saipem 12000 drillship shortly before it entered the Cuttlefish plot in bloc 3 of South Cyprus’ EEZ, South Cyprus government sources say.
The vessels are in the area surrounding bloc 3, reports said yesterday.
Italian energy giant ENI has contracted the ultra-deep drillship for exploratory work in bloc 3.
Turkey has employed similar tactics in the past, however, their manoeuvres have become more intense, prompting the south’s government to advise ENI on how to deal with the situation.
Turkey issued a Navtex (notice to mariners) on February 6, reserving a vast area, virtually covering the whole of the waters offshore South Cyprus for military training. The Navtex comes into effect on February 18, which coincides with the time that ENI’s drillship will be working in the area.
The South issued its own Navtex advising mariners that the Turkish notice constitutes ‘unauthorised and illegal activity in the exclusive economic zone, the continental shelf and the search and rescue region of the Republic of Cyprus’.
“This action is illegal, constitutes a violation of international law, affects maritime safety procedures and is also a criminal offence under the laws of the Republic of Cyprus.”
In turn, Turkey issued a new Navtex in a bid to countermand the Cypriot one.
It read: “The ‘Cyprus’ mentioned in Larnaca Navwarn NR 074/18 is not the original partnership state established in 1960.”