Newsroom / CNA
ExxonMobil’s “Ocean Investigator” research vessel docked at Limassol Port on Wednesday, to refuel and load the necessary equipment for environmental explorations in block 10 of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone.
Port Master Panayiotis Agathocleous said a second research vessel, Exxon Mobil’s “Med Surveyor”, is expected to arrive on Thursday.
“It has docked at a quay in the administrative area of DP World Limassol and is expected to load equipment, which will be taken to its area of activity, which is block 10,” Agathocleous said.
The vessel is scheduled to remain docked until March 24 but may leave sooner if all work is completed.
Agathocleous said, “a second vessel for the same purpose is expected to arrive tomorrow, it will also stay for a few days to load equipment, and will continue its course to block 10.”
The arrivals of the survey vessels come weeks after Turkey blocked Italy's ENI drillship from conducting explorations in block 3 of Cyprus' EEZ - after a prolonged stand-off the operation was postponed and the Italian ship departed for Morocco earlier this month.
Asked if the vessels will be coming and going during the environmental studies, the Port Master said: “DP World has prepared special areas to serve the hydrocarbon sector and research works, and its services will be provided at Limassol Port.”
“Certainly the vessels will use Limassol Port to connect the marine area with the land, and thereon, as far as drilling is concerned, it will be examined later, when the exploratory works are concluded,” he added.
Agathocleous said, “the explorations have a specific timeframe, as does the drilling, based on the agreement signed with the state, and we expect that it will take a month at the most, and then drilling will begin”.
According to Marine Traffic, “Med Surveyor” is currently to the northwest of Haifa.
Test drilling in Block 10 is scheduled to take place in October.
Turkey is opposed to any energy exploration by the Republic of Cyprus, arguing that Greek Cypriots were planning without the consent or participation of Turkish Cypriots. Nicosia says the island's energy wealth belongs to all Cypriots and what Turkey is doing is illegal.