Anadarko seismic vessel detained

October 11, 2013

The government of Guyana says the Venezuelan navy has detained the crew of a seismic acquisition vessel in waters disputed by the two South American nations. The Panama-flagged RV Teknik Perdana was acquiring a multi-beam geophysical survey in the Roraima concession block, in Guyana's exclusive economic zone, for US-based Anadarko Petroleum.

The Roraima block was awarded to Anadarko in June 2012. Company representatives met in April 2013 with Guyana's Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Robert Persaud. At that time, it was determined that 2D seismic surveys should be completed by the last quarter of 2013.

Guyana's Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the RV Teknik Perdana was ordered by a Venezuelan navy ship to divert to Margarita Island in Venezuela. It is expected to arrive on Margarita Island on Sunday. The seismic vessel has at least five US citizens on board, including employees of Anadarko and TDI Brooks International, based in College Station, Texas.

The Guyana Foreign Ministry said it was informed that at approximately 16:00hr on Thursday 10 October 2013, an armed  Venezuelan naval vessel, the Yekuana, was trailing the seismic vessel. The Guyana Foreign Ministry's statement goes on to say:

“The naval vessel obstructed the research vessel's passage, requested them to change course and stop surveying. As is known, Anadarko has a petroleum prospecting licence to search for hydrocarbons in the Roraima block offshore Guyana.

"The crew of the RV Teknik Perdana explained to the crew of the Venezuelan vessel that they were conducting a multi-beam survey of the seafloor in Guyana's exclusive economic zone. The Venezuelan crew insisted that the vessel was doing such work in Venezuela’s exclusive economic zone and instructed that the vessel switch off its engines and shut down its seismic equipmen.

"At about 17:45 hrs the Venezuelan naval vessel ordered the RV Teknik Perdana, which was then located at 10 21.0745 N, 57 31.1057W to travel at 5 knots in a westerly direction. At approximately 20:30 hrs, the crew of the RV Teknik Perdana was instructed to increase speed to 7 knots and was given directions to sail to the island of Margarita in Venezuela. It was then clear that the vessel and its crew were not only being escorted out of Guyana's waters, but were under arrest. These actions by the Venezuelan naval vessel are unprecedented in Guyana Venezuela relations."

The vessel, built in 1974, is owned and operated by privately held TL Geohydrographics, based in Singapore. According to MarineTraffic.com, the last port call for the RV Teknik Perdana was at Chaguramas, northwest of Port of Spain, Trinidad.

The Guyana Foreign Ministry called the action a "serious threat to the peace" in the region.



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