The Turkish research vessel Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa is carrying out another unauthorised ‘seismic survey’ inside Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.
According to a Navtex (navigational telex) issued by Turkey’s Antalya station, the vessel will be conducting the surveys until May 26. The Navtex (0147/19) is in force since January 26.
The area reserved for the seismic surveys covers large parts of Cyprus’ offshore blocks 1, 8 and 12, south of Limassol. The reserved area consists of a roughly rectangular block.
The Barbaros is being accompanied by two support vessels, the M/V Tanux-1 and the R/V Apollo Moon.
Sources confirmed to the Cyprus Mail that the Barbaros is also being escorted by a Turkish frigate.
Marine Traffic, a vessel tracking website, shows that over the past 24 hours the Barbaros performed a south-to-north sharp loop, covering blocks 1, 8 and 12.
In 2013, the same vessel had carried out surveys inside blocks 2, 3, 8 and 9.
In September 2011 the breakaway regime signed a ‘Continental Shelf Delimitation Agreement’ with Turkey. It is on this basis that the north declared an ‘Exclusive Economic Zone’ of its own, which in effect claims that half of Cyprus’ EEZ belongs to them, including parts of blocks 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 12 and 13.
The seismic surveys are considered illegal by the Republic of Cyprus, as under international law a foreign state must request permission from the country of jurisdiction (Cyprus) to conduct any economic activity within its waters.
Turkey does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus.
The Turkish warship shadowing the Barbaros is not in violation of international law as it is sailing in international waters.
The current Turkish expedition into Cyprus’ EEZ is seen as a response to gas explorations being carried out by ExxonMobil in block 10.
Meanwhile under another Navtex (0181/19) the Turkish navy will during this month be conducting a series of gunnery exercises spanning parts of Cyprus’ blocks 7 and 8.
Additionally, under Navtex 0195/19, Turkish and Nato naval units will be carrying out a ‘bilateral naval exercise’ on February 19 in an area covering parts of blocks 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7, to the south and southwest.