Venezuelan Patrol Ship Rams Antarctic Cruise Ship. Patrol Ship Sank.
The Venezuelan patrol ship Naiguata believed the Resolute, a Cruise Ship travelling in international waters, was ‘probably’ carrying mercenaries. The cruise ship had 32 crew members but no passengers at the time and was conducting maintenance on its engines as it drifted near the island of La Tortuga. First the Venezuelan patrol ship demanded they change directions, then they fired on the ship. Then it rammed the cruise ship. The cruise ship had a reinforced hull for Antarctic expeditions. The patrol ship sank. Dang, don’t you hate it when that happens?
RCGS Resolute is a purpose built polar expedition vessel of the highest ice class, rated 1A Super, designed to operate in difficult ice conditions. pic.twitter.com/AMLsae56Vn
— Venezuela BTH (@VenezuelaBTH) April 1, 2020
The Resolute, a cruise vessel owned by Columbia Cruise Services, flagged in Portugal and operated by a German crew, was built specifically for Antarctic explorations, and was not something that should be assailed by a tin can, I mean a Venezuelan patrol ship.
According to a news account at the Pluralist,
The RCGS Resolute, a German-operated, Portuguese-flagged five-star cruise ship, was conducting routine engine maintenance 13.3 nautical miles off the Venezuelan island of Isla de Tortuga when it was approached by what has been identified by the ANBV Naiguatá shortly after midnight, the Resolute’s operating company said in a statement.
Crew members aboard the 262-foot Naiguatá questioned the 403-foot Resolute’s presence and intentions via radio and demanded it follow the naval ship to Puerto Moreno on the Isla De Margarita.
Columbia Cruise Services, the Resolute’s operating company, said in a statement on Wednesday that the master of the ship was attempting to confirm the order with headquarters, since it was in international waters, when the Naiguatá fired upon her, approached the starboard side and “purposely collided’ with the cruise vessel.
The Venezuelan ship fired on a foreign cruise vessel that was just outside the 12 mile range. They deliberately rammed the cruise ship repeatedly. Then they began to take on water and sank.
The Drive reported,
While the Master was in contact with the head office [in Germany], gun shots were fired and, shortly thereafter, the navy vessel approached the starboard side at speed with an angle of 135° and purposely collided with the RCGS Resolute,” the statement continued. “The navy vessel continued to ram the starboard bow in an apparent attempt to turn the ship’s head towards Venezuelan territorial waters.”
Columbia Cruise Services does not say what kind of gun was fired or if it did any damage to the Resolute. The Naiguatá has a 76mm main gun in a turret forward of the main superstructure, as well as a pair of 20mm cannons and two .50 caliber machine guns. The crew would also have access to various small arms.
Large oil slick seen around the area where the collision happened, slick is likely to have come from the Naiguata as it sank. pic.twitter.com/AAtSk4bvdQ
— CNW (@ConflictsW) March 31, 2020