4 MAY 2020
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It would seem that the Venezuelan Navy tried to take on a cruise ship with dire consequences.
The 403ft Resolute is a luxury liner which sails under the Portuguese flag and is designed for voyages in Antarctica. It had been drifting 13mi off La Tortuga, an uninhabited Venezuelan island 60mi off the northern coast, according to its owner. Columbia, a German company, said that one of the vessel’s engines had been shut down for maintenance and had been making its way towards port on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao.
The Resolute had been approached by a Venezuelan navy patrol vessel, the Naiguatá, which then ordered it to navigate into Venezuelan waters, the company said. The captain refused to follow instructions, explaining that he first needed to contact the head office in Germany. At that point several shots were fired from the Venezuelan vessel, which then rammed the cruise liner’s hull in an effort to force it to change course.
The Finnish-built Resolute is equipped with the highest Polar class reinforced hull, making it easily capable of breaking thick Antarctic ice and therefore suitable for “year-round operation in all polar waters”. As a result it is nearly impervious to ramming by another vessel. The steel-hulled patrol boat suffered severe damage and soon began to take on water.
Columbia said that the Resolute had remained in the vicinity of the incident for more than an hour and had offered assistance. Its captain alerted the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Curaçao, which eventually advised him to continue his journey. Images taken from the pier in Curaçao appear to show only minor damage to the Resolute.
Columbia Cruise Services, the owner of the cruise liner, said that the Venezuelan crew had fired shots and appeared to be trying to seize the civilian vessel, which was also an icebreaker. It described the move as an “act of aggression in international waters.”
Please see CRUISING in this issue.
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