BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:00 P.M.) – The U.S. Naval Command in the southern region announced on Wednesday, that a warship belonging to it sailed near the Venezuelan coast, hours after an Iranian tanker was docked in the port of Caracas.
According to the Southern Command’s official website, the U.S.S. Nitze sailed in an area outside Venezuelan territorial waters, which extends for approximately 12 nautical miles from its coast.
“Today, while peacefully operating in the Caribbean Sea, the U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Nitze (DDG 94) conducted a freedom of navigation operation, contesting an excessive maritime claim by Venezuela,” they said.
The Southern Naval Command indicated that “U.S. Navy ship conducted the operation in international waters outside Venezuela’s 12 nautical-mile territorial jurisdiction.
“The United States will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, preserving the rights, freedoms and lawful use of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all nations,” said Adm. Craig Faller, Commander of U.S. Southern Command. “These freedoms are the bedrock of ongoing security efforts, and essential to regional peace and stability.”
The move comes after U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to send and increase the military presence in the Caribbean, for military and security purposes related to U.S. national security.
On Tuesday, an Iranian oil tanker entered Venezuelan waters to deliver its contents to the South American nation.
In addition to the oil delivery, the Iranian tanker was also carrying equipment to fix the Venezuelan facilities that are in desperate need of repair.