The Cypriot government has said that it was not true that Turkish vessels operating in an EEZ claimed by Cyprus had either docked at, or approached the harbour in Limassol, denying that local media reports were accurate.
Deputy Minister of Shipping Natasa Pilides said the reports that the Vos Prime, operated by Dutch company Vroon Offshore Services, had set anchor two weeks ago at the Cypriot port of Limassol. Pilides confirmed that the Vos Prime had docked there, but said that she was not providing any support to the Turkish drillship Yavuz, which was currently located off the Karspasia peninsula and said to be readying to drill into the seabed for hydrocarbons.
Pilides said, that the Dutch company weeks ago had assured the government it would not be taking part in any Turkish offshore activities around Cyprus.
Vos Prime reportedly was one of the support vessels named in a Turkish Navtex issued on July 7th. along with the Vos Prince (owned by the same Dutch company) and the Posh Sincero.
On July 10th Vroon Offshore Services released a statement noting that they would not be supporting Turkish drilling operations. “We know the political sensitivities between Turkey and Cyprus in relation to the location of Yavuz’s drilling and that is why our ships will not support their operations in Cypriot waters”, a company spokesperson said.
Cypriot newspaper Phileleftheros claimed that the two remaining companies supporting Turkey’s other drillship, the Fatih, in waters west of Paphos had also backed out. It said that the Fatih was receiving no assistance from European entities or personnel, be they sub-contractors aboard the drillship itself or support vessels.
Cyprus had issued European arrest warrants for the crews of the vessels supporting the Fatih, targeting EU nationals. Phileleftheros also reported that Cypriot authorities had drawn up a ‘black list’ of foreign companies found to have supported Turkish offshore operations. These outfits would be banned from any work related to drills being planned by ExxonMobil, Total and ENI on behalf of Cyprus, the report claimed.
The first Turkish drillship, the Fatih, arrived in waters west of the island in early May. The Yavuz arrived off eastern Cyprus on July 10th.