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Turkish ships threaten to sink Eni's drill vessel

Staff Writer |
Turkish warships harassed the surveying vessel of oil company Eni and threatened to sink it on Friday in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus.

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The Italian ship was forced to make the necessary maneuvers so as to avoid a collision, according to Skai radio that cited Cypriot news reports.

Four or five ships of the Turkish navy tried to once again obstruct the Saipem 12000 drill ship of Eni, that has over the last couple of weeks been prevented from performing its duty to search for hydrocarbons at Block 3 off Cyprus.

In a last-ditch effort before departing for Morocco, the drill ship attempted to approach the spot where it was supposed to begin its surveying, but the Turkish ships nearly caused a collision, that was averted in the last minute, after issuing clear threats to the Italian vessel that it would be sunk.

Eni’s ship left the spot and started sailing west, setting course for Morocco.

Cyprus confirmed on Friday that Italian ENI energy company has postponed a planned drilling for natural gas after a Turkish warship prevented its drillship from proceeding to its target for a second time in two weeks.

"We understand that ENI decided to postpone its planned drilling in Cyprus exclusive economic zone," government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides told Cypriot state television in an interview from Brussels.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades is discussing in Brussels with the leaders of other EU member states about Turkey's objection to natural gas exploration by Cyprus and how to formulate a joint EU reaction.

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