Venezuela demands respect for its sovereignty after unprecedented incursion of ships into its jurisdictional waters

The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela hereby informs the nation and the international community that during the daily patrolling activities across the Venezuelan Atlantic façade conducted by the National Bolivarian Navy on December 22nd, 2018, specifically by oceanic patrol ship Kariña (PO-14), the unprecedented presence in Venezuelan jurisdictional waters of two seismic exploration vessels was detected. They were identified as Bahaman-flagged RAMFOR and DELTA MONARCH flying a Trinidad and Tobago flag, the both vessels under contract with ExxonMobil corporation. The aforementioned exploration vessels were located at the following coordinates: 09° 17′ 4″ North, 058°15′ 7″ West, and 09° 15′ 0″ North, and 058° 17′ 3″ West, respectively, that is, within the Orinoco River Delta maritime waters, over which Venezuela undoubtedly has unquestionable sovereignty. In view of this flagrant violation of sovereignty, the proper international protocols for this type of events were applied and national sovereignty was safeguarded with strict abidance by the international agreements and treaties.

Importantly, the captains of the aforementioned exploration vessels argued during the communicational exchange that they had a permit to operate in the maritime space described above issued by the government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. The Venezuelan Navy authorities proceeded to inform them that said country has no jurisdiction over the maritime area of the Orinoco River Delta, and therefore, they stopped their activities and navigated into the waters of the vast Zone of Reclamation, Guayana Essequiba.

The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has informed the Secretary General of the United Nations about this development and has sent the corresponding diplomatic note of protest to the government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana with regard to this unacceptable violation of the national sovereignty of Venezuela which, beyond the territorial controversy over Guayana Esequiba, has trespassed all limits with this unprecedented incursion as it was intended to dispose of maritime spaces of Delta Amacuro, over which Venezuela has undisputed sovereignty.

Based on the Bolivarian diplomacy of peace, the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela hereby reiterates our appeal to the Cooperative Republic of Guyana to restore a direct and respectful dialogue in connection with this delicate matter. At the same time, the Bolivarian Government guarantees its stern determination to defend the territorial sovereignty of the Republic and the interest of the Venezuelan People, thoroughly abiding by the International Law.

Caracas, December 23rd, 2018.