The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the destroyer “USS Pinkney” of the US Navy sailed “in our adjacent area 16.1 nautical miles (about 30 km) from the Venezuelan coast.”
The ministry stated that the incursion of the warship “surreptitiously” in this area located in the Caribbean Sea, which is subject to the Venezuelan judiciary, constitutes “a violation of maritime law at all levels.”
She added that this incursion is an “unwarranted provocative act” by the United States, whose President Donald Trump is trying to topple his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicholas Maduro.
The adjacent region lies on the edge of a country’s territorial waters and extends up to 24 nautical miles (about 44 km) from the coast of that country.
According to the United Nations, states enjoy privileges in their contiguous region related to customs, tax and immigration issues.
The South American military command (Southcom) responsible for military operations in the Caribbean announced on Wednesday that it had sent the destroyer “USS Pinkney” to the Caribbean Sea on a mission to ensure “freedom of navigation” in these waters and to confirm the illegality of what Caracas is trying to exercise. From “sovereignty in international waters”.
She added in a statement that the destroyer “sailed in international waters, more than 12 miles from the coast of Venezuela, in accordance with international law.”
And the US military command clarified in its statement that “the illegitimate Maduro regime is unlawfully claiming sovereignty over these international waters which are three miles from the territorial waters boundaries,” stressing that this claim “does not comply with international law.”
“We will exercise our legal right to sail freely in international waters without bowing to unlawful demands,” she added.