Nautical Geo, a research vessel that Turkey expelled two weeks ago from an area west of Cyprus, was scheduled to resume activities off the coast of the island but this time staying out of zones claimed by Turkey.
Based on live data from online maritime maps, the Malta-flagged vessel was moving in waters off Limassol Friday late morning after departing Larnaca port a day earlier.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, Nautical Geo was scheduled to conduct research based on a NAVTEX issued by Nicosia for October 21-23.
The ship is expected to remain south of Limassol in Block 1, an area declared by the Republic of Cyprus as exclusive economic zone.
Earlier this month, Nautical Geo was expelled by Turkish ships from an area west of the island, with Ankara saying the activity zone for the vessel "covered Turkish continental shelf” and had no permit.
'Turkey supports energy projects that will enhance cooperation among the countries in the region. However, these projects should not ignore the rights and interests of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots'
This week Ankara threatened to take action again, saying “we will continue to resolutely protect both our own rights and the rights of Turkish Cypriots.”
But Greek Cypriots say Nautical Geo, which departed for the project at the Greek port of Heraclion in late September, has permission from Nicosia to survey areas for a proposed EastMed pipeline, an ambitious but controversial undersea gas line that would connect offshore fields in Israeli and Cypriot waters with Crete and the Greek mainland.
Turkey has accused Mediterranean countries including Egypt of trying to keep Ankara out of the energy game in the region, while also accusing Greeks and Greek Cypriots of ignoring the rights of Turkish Cypriots on the divided island.
“Turkey supports energy projects that will enhance cooperation among the countries in the region. However, these projects should not ignore the rights and interests of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots and they should be inclusive,” Ankara said in a statement earlier this week.
But Nicosia maintains the position that an EEZ declaration by the Republic of Cyprus and further exploration does not go against Turkish Cypriots or Turkey, citing international laws and pointing to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).