A Greek Cypriot flagged research ship, allegedly conducting underwater research without the permission of the Turkish government has been warned off and sent away by a Turkish frigate.
The ‘Royal Flash’ was looking for undersea resources, mainly natural gas, in an area between Famagusta, Mersin and Alexandretta on 21st August which Turkey has declared as its own marine territory.
The Turkish frigate, which was engaged in reconnaissance and patrolling the area within the “Mediterranean Shield Operation”, warned off the ship. However, the vessel disregarding the warning, widened its search area. Having been warned twice more on 25 and 26th August, it was forced by the Turkish frigate, to leave the area.
According to Star Kibris, the “Mediterranean Shield Operation” began on 1st April 2006 with the participation of frigates, corvettes, submarines, assault boats and patrol vessels which continuously patrol in the area using the ports of Aksaz, Mersin, Alexandretta and Famagusta. The operation is also supported from the air by airplanes and helicopters.