Second Turkish drillship arrives off coast of Cyprus: shipping data

Turkish energy minister said the Yavuz drilling ship would start operations in a week. (AFP)
Updated 11 July 2019
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Second Turkish drillship arrives off coast of Cyprus: shipping data

  • European Union leaders warned Turkey last month to stop drilling gas in the area
  • Cyprus said the second drilling was an escalation by Turkey

ISTANBUL: A second Turkish drillship, which is expected to begin drilling for oil and natural gas near Cyprus this week, arrived off the Mediterranean island’s northeastern coast on Monday, Refinitiv Eikon shipping data showed.
Last month, European Union leaders warned Turkey to end its gas drilling in disputed waters around the island or face action from the bloc, after Greece and Cyprus pressed other EU states to speak out.
In a move that could further strain ties with Cyprus over exploration rights, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez was quoted by state-owned Anadolu news agency on Saturday as saying the Yavuz would start drilling within a week.
Yavuz had been at the southern Turkish port of Mersin doing final tests and taking on supplies before departing for Cyprus on Sunday. The shipping data showed that it arrived off the coast of the Karpas peninsula overnight.
Meanwhile, Cyprus ‘strongly condemns’ what it said was an infringement of its sovereign rights by Turkey, after Ankara sent a drill ship off the island to explore for oil and gas.

“This planned second drilling ... is an escalation by Turkey of its repeated violations of Cyprus’s sovereign rights based on the UN Law of the Sea and international law, and is a most serious violation of the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus,” Cyprus’s presidency in Nicosia said in a statement.
Ankara, which does not have diplomatic relations with Cyprus, claims that certain areas in Cyprus’s offshore maritime zone, known as an EEZ, fall under the jurisdiction of Turkey or of Turkish Cypriots, who have their own breakaway state in the north of the island which is recognized only by Turkey.
Cyprus was divided in 1974 after a Turkish invasion triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup. Several peacemaking efforts have failed and the discovery of offshore resources has complicated the negotiations.


UK warns British ships to avoid Hormuz Strait

Updated 32 min 58 sec ago
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UK warns British ships to avoid Hormuz Strait

LONDON: London Saturday advised British ships to avoid the Strait of Hormuz for “an interim period” following Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker.
“We remain deeply concerned about Iran’s unacceptable actions which represent a clear challenge to international freedom of navigation,” a government spokeswoman said following an overnight meeting of the government’s COBRA emergencies committee to discuss the crisis.
“We have advised UK shipping to stay out of the area for an interim period.”
She noted comments by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt earlier that “there will be serious consequences if the situation is not resolved.”
She added that there will be further meetings over the weekend and “we remain in close contact with our international partners.”
Hunt said on Saturday that he was worried that Iran had taken a “dangerous path” after it seized a British-flagged tanker on Friday.
“Yesterday’s action in Gulf shows worrying signs Iran may be choosing a dangerous path of illegal and destabilizing behavior after Gibraltar’s LEGAL detention of oil bound for Syria,” Hunt said on Twitter.
“As I said yesterday our reaction will be considered but robust. We have been trying to find a way to resolve Grace1 issue but WILL ensure the safety of our shipping.”
The British navy seized Iran’s Grace 1 tanker in Gibraltar on July 4 on suspicion of smuggling oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said on Friday it had seized the British-flagged Swedish-owned Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz for breaking “international maritime rules.”
Iranian authorities alleged Saturday the ship had collided with a fishing boat. It said the tanker was now at anchor off the port of Bandar Abbas with all its crew aboard.