'Bergen Surveyer' Ship Surveying in Cyprus Waters
Norwegian-flagged seismic research ship Bergen Surveyer is surveying for undersea gas and oil on behalf of Turkey's Petroleum Corporation in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), said Defence Ministry sources.
The ship, owned by CG Veritas, is tracking back-and-forth in international waters off the coast of Paphos as can be seen in the image from MarineTraffic.com according to the latest information it received at 03:42 this morning (October 6th).
Turkey's activities fly in the face of the government's sovereign right over the island's EEZ as it does not have official permission to conduct research for oil and gas reserves. Ankara disputes this right on the basis that the government does not represent the Turkish Cypriots.
On September 21st , Turkey signed an agreement with the 'TRNC' to delimit maritime borders and explore for hydrocarbons. The 'TRNC' is only recognised by Turkey, and the government promptly said the agreement was illegal. But Turkey blithely ignored the Republic's objections and sent its seismic research ship K. Piri Reis to Cyprus waters a few days after signing the agreement with the Turkish Cypriots.
Fight over sovereign rights
As the only internationally-recognised government on the island, the leadership has gone ahead with a contract with Noble Energy to explore for hydrocarbons in Block 12, an area which borders Israel's gas field Leviathan.
The government's right is upheld by the EU, Greece, Israel and Russia, all of which have made statements condemning Turkey's threats towards the island and supporting its right to exploit resources in its sovereign territory.
Earlier this week, defence ministry sources said that if Turkey proceeds with actual exploration for undersea hydrocarbons, the government's approach will be different. For the time being, authorities take the view that the research ships are in international waters and will be treated like any other ship.
There was no immediate comment from the foreign ministry or government spokesman.
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