CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The top diplomats of Venezuela and Guyana agreed to meet to discuss the fate of an oil research ship seized in disputed waters as the captain of the U.S.-chartered vessel was being charged Monday in Venezuela with violating its maritime economic zone.
The foreign ministers of the two countries will meet Thursday in Port of Spain, the capital Trinidad and Tobago, to "resolve diplomatically" any differences stemming from the Venezuelan navy's seizure of the ship last week, Venezuela's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The ship and its 36-man international crew, including five Americans and workers from Russia, Indonesia and Brazil, has been anchored since Sunday off Venezuela's Margarita Island in the Caribbean. The federal prosecutor's office said the ship's Ukrainian captain, Igor Bekirov, would appear in a court Monday evening.
The vessel, sailing under a Panamanian flag, was conducting a seismic study for Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp. under a concession from Guyana, which says the vessel was well within its territorial waters.
John Christiansen, a spokesman for Anadarko, said the crew of the Teknik Perdana was safe, being treated with respect and fully cooperating with Venezuelan officials. U.S. officials said they were monitoring the situation but declined to comment further due to privacy concerns.
The vessel's seizure threatens to revive a decades-old territorial dispute between Venezuela, South America's biggest oil producer, and Guyana, one of the region's poorest countries.
Venezuela has for decades claimed two-thirds of Guyana's territory as its own, and the region west of the Essequibo River is designated a "reclamation zone" in official Venezuelan maps.
Although U.S. and Venezuelan relations have been strained for years over what Venezuela's socialist government considers U.S. meddling in the region, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro made no mention of the ship in nearly five hours of televised remarks Sunday.
Ties between Guyana and Venezuela have improved recently, with Maduro describing the territorial dispute as a relic of the colonial era in his first visit as president to Georgetown in August to discuss joint oil projects.
Associated Press writer Joshua Goodman in Mexico City contributed to this report
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Millions of people around the nation looked at their Mega Millions lottery tickets Tuesday night to see if they had the winning combination. There are reports that at least one winning ticket was sold in San Jose, Calif., and another in …
It’s the only thing an Albuquerque grandfather left for the little granddaughter he loved so much and now it's gone, stolen years before she could ever enjoy it.
Fourteen chickens were found dead in a southwest Albuquerque backyard and the owners think it was the work of a two-legged animal.
New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies and guard Daniel Mullings both said they believed the Aggies would have a different result against Craig Neal's University of New Mexico Lobos the second time around.They were right.
The BioPark is asking for the public’s opinion as the city moves ahead with a major makeover plan.
The NCAA agrees that The Pit gets loud, but thinks there are other college arenas that get louder.