As energy giant ExxonMobil sends two survey vessels to search for gas offshore Cyprus, the United States is increasing its naval presence in the Mediterranean.
Last month, despite criticism from the EU and the United States, Turkey prevented the ‘Saipem 12000’ drilling vessel contracted by Italian ENI from reaching bloc 3 of South Cyprus EEZ to search for new gas deposits.
The Iwo Jima amphibious ready group, including three amphibious ships and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit comprising 2,500 US Marines, entered Sixth Fleet operations, which are based in Naples, Italy, on February 21, a US navy statement said.
The United States Navy has five ships permanently deployed in the Mediterranean.
ExxonMobil is to send two surveying vessels, which are expected to arrive in South Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) on Monday.
Turkey has said that any gas reserves around Cyprus should be shared with the Turkish Cypriots.