Why Is Venezuela Detaining Five American Oil Workers?
October 14, 2013 - 11:45 am
Agripundit tweets that there may be a “Captain Phillips” situation brewing to our south.
— Shawn Martini (@agripundit) October 14, 2013
Captain Richard Phillips was held along with his crew by Somali pirates in 2009 after they seized his cargo ship, the Maersk Alabama. Their story is the subject of a movie and some lawsuits.
What’s happening off Venezuela may be a more state-sanctioned variety of piracy, according to FuelFix.
A U.S.-chartered oil exploration ship seized by the Venezuelan navy in Caribbean waters disputed with neighboring Guyana arrived at Venezuela’s Margarita Island on Sunday.
Venezuelan authorities said the ship’s 36 crew members, including five U.S. citizens and two Brazilians, would be held on board while an investigation continued.
The 285-foot survey ship Teknik Perdana was detained by Venezuelan sailors Thursday in contested waters off the coast of Guyana. The seizure is threatening to revive a decades-old territorial dispute between Venezuela, South America’s biggest oil producer, and Guyana, one of the region’s poorest countries.
The vessel, sailing under a Panamanian flag, was conducting a seismic study for Woodlands-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp. under a concession from Guyana. Guyana’s government says the crew was well within Guyana’s territorial waters. TDI-Brooks International, based in College Station, Texas, was contracted to do the acoustic survey of the ocean floor.
The crew are said to be safe, just, not free, and held by a tinhorn government that is openly hostile to the United States. Venezuela appears to be using them as pawns in its territorial dispute with Guyana. The crew, which along with the five Americans includes several Europeans and South Americans, will be subjected to an “inquiry” by the Venezuelan government. In socialist regimes, that can mean anything from a show trial followed by release to a show trial followed by sentencing and dire consequences.
The US Embassy in Caracas has reportedly been given no information about the five detained Americans at all.
While they await the inquiry, or a raid by the US Navy to free them if it comes to that, another solution to our energy needs has presented itself for years. The Obama administration should build the Keystone XL Pipeline, via which we could obtain more of our energy from friends up north rather than deal with the less friendly regimes to our south. Obama has held that project hostage to environmental extremists for years.