ExxonMobil vessel return to port in Cyprus

The Ocean Investigator survey vessel, which is currently being leased by U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil, has returned to the Cypriot port of Limassol after a ten-day exploration in block 10 of Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

So far, the Turkish navy has not attempted to block the Ocean Investigator in the way it did with an exploration ship sent in by Italian energy company Eni in February. 

Meanwhile, USS Donald Cook, a guided-missile destroyer and one of the most modern warships in US Navy, also arrived the Cyproit port of Larnaca for port call on Thursday. 

The U.S. Navy’s Iwo Jima amphibious ready group, including three amphibious ships and 2,500 U.S. Marines, left the eastern Mediterranean via the Suez Canal late last month, and is currently in the Arabian Sea. 

However, another guided-missile destroyer, USS Porter left her main base in Spain on Monday. She is likely enroute to the eastern Mediterranean.  

In the meantime, the Turkish naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean is also strong. According to a statement made by the Turkish General Staff, a frigate, a corvette, two submarines, a logistical support ship, a maritime patrol aircraft and a patrol boat have been conducting exercises and patrols in the region.

Meanwhile, another ExxonMobil survey ship, Med Surveyor, was in the Greek port of Lavrio, near Athens, at the time of writing, while the Turkish research ship Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa was in the Turkish port of Taşucu near Mersin. 

Turkish warships twice blocked the course of an exploration vessel leased by Italian energy firm Eni off Cyprus in February, forcing it to divert despite calls from the European Union and the United States. 

The eastern Mediterranean has seen some of the world’s largest gas discoveries in the last decade, at a time when Europe is looking to diversify supplies from Russia. 

Turkey says efforts to look for potentially rich energy resources off Cyprus do not recognise the rights of Turkish Cypriots. Only Turkey recognises the breakaway Turkish Cypriot administration in northern Cyprus, while the rest of the world recognises the Greek Cypriot government in the south as having sovereignty over the whole island.