The USS Pinkney (DDG 91) challenged Venezuela’s excessive maritime claim in international waters on Tuesday during a freedom of navigation operation in the Caribbean Sea.
Excessive control over these international waters is claimed by the illegitimate Maduro regime and it isn’t consistent with international law. Venezuela is extending their control three miles beyond the 12-mile territorial sea.
Freedom of navigation on international waters are conducted worldwide by the U.S. Navy, preserving maritime navigation and access rights. These demonstrations of power display the United States’ commitment to upholding the rights, freedoms, access, and the lawful uses of international waters and airspace that is guaranteed to all nations.
Maintaining global access to international waters promotes a just international order. This also protects U.S. national interests and ensures the U.S. Navy can accomplish their key missions. These missions include humanitarian assistance deployments, disaster relief operations, support to international counter-narcotics efforts, and multinational exercises that strengthen regional partnerships.
The USS Pinckney along with other U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships are operating in the Caribbean as a demonstration of power and in support of President Trump’s enhanced counter narcotics operation.
In March AG Barr issued an indictment for several Venezuelan officials, including Nicolás Maduro for an alleged conspiracy involving an extremely violent terrorist organization known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in an effort to flood the United States with cocaine.
It is estimated that 200 to 250 metric tons of cocaine have shipped out of Venezuela, traveling on maritime routes through the Caribbean. 250 tons is equal to 30 million lethal doses.
“We will exercise our lawful right to freely navigate international waters without acquiescing to unlawful claims. The guaranteed right of nations to access, transit and navigate international waters is not subject to impositions or restrictions that blatantly violate international law,” said Navy Adm. Craig Faller, Commander of U.S. Southern Command.
Venezuela’s excessive claim was previously contested on June 23 by the U.S. Navy when the USS Nitze (DDG 94) was in international waters outside of Venezuela’s 12 nautical-mile territorial sea. The Nitze was able to peacefully complete their operation.