U.S. Navy Destroyer conducts another freedom of navigation operation off the coast of Venezuela.
CARIBBEAN SEA – Today, the U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91) conducted a freedom of navigation operation in the Caribbean Sea. Unlike previous operations of this nature they didn't activate their AIS transponder so we cant be positive about where this took place, but there are indicators that we can follow that point to it being the same area they sailed through on June 23rd.
When the U.S. Navy previously contested Venezuela’s excessive claim June 23, the USS Nitze (DDG 94) sailed in international waters between Curacao and Venezuela. As you can see below they briefly turned on their AIS as they sailed north about 20 nautical miles off the coast eventually passing between Curacao and Bonaire.
This morning at 7 am just a few hours before Southcoms announcement these 3 ships below from the Bolivarian Navy of Venezuela sailed out from Puerto Cabello which is directly south of where the last freedom of navigation operation occurred. This is consistent with other instances when foreign navy ships are operating in the area south of Curacao.
They headed north together but quickly change course and hang around the anchorage for a bit. My speculation here is that they were going to go intercept the USS Pinckney but by the time they left port the U.S. ship had already changed course and was sailing away.
The U.S. Navy conducts freedom of navigation operations worldwide to demonstrate the United States’ commitment to uphold the rights, freedoms, access and lawful uses of international waters and airspace guaranteed to all nations. Freedom of navigation operations help preserve the maritime navigation and access rights guaranteed to all nations. Global access to international waters protects U.S. national interests, promotes a just international order, and ensures the U.S. Navy can accomplish key missions, including humanitarian assistance deployments, disaster relief operations, support to international counter-narcotics efforts, and multinational exercises that strengthen regional partnerships. USS Pinckney, as well as other U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships, are currently operating in the Caribbean as part of the President’s enhanced counter narcotics operation.
“We will exercise our lawful right to freely navigate international waters without acquiescing to unlawful claims,” said Navy Adm. Craig Faller, Commander of U.S. Southern Command “The guaranteed right of nations to access, transit and navigate international waters is not subject to impositions or restrictions that blatantly violate international law.”