The Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, the flagship of the French navy, sailed through Block 8 of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone on Thursday, passing alongside the Turkish Yavuz drillship bringing rising tensions to the region.
The French aircraft carrier, escorted by several accompanying vessels, is stationed on the edge of Block 1, located 13 nautical miles off the shore of Limassol after travelling through Blocks 4 and 5 on Wednesday.
Alongside the aircraft carrier sails a tanker ship, providing general support, as well as the French destroyer BRETAGNE.
The French frigate CHEVALIER PAUL is stationed at a greater distance to the aircraft carrier, on the borders of Block 8 and 9, near the location of the Turkish drillship Yavuz, which has been widely criticized of violating international law with its current activities in the Cyprus EEZ.
An additional battleship accompanying Charles de Gaulle is the Italian frigate VERGINIO FASAN, has moved to corner of Block 11, which borders with the tension-fuelled Block 8.
On January 18, Turkey sent Yavuz to Block 8, which is licensed to the ENI – Total consortium for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activities.
On Tuesday, it emerged that European Union diplomats agreed to impose sanctions against two Turkish nationals in response to Ankara’s controversial search for hydrocarbons within the Cyprus EEZ.
According to the report, the two Turkish nationals will face travel bans and a freeze of their assets, in what is seen as an “extraordinary escalation” by Brussels against Ankara’s activities off the coast of EU member state Cyprus.