The NAVTEX was issued at the very same time that the Turkish Navy is conducting a scheduled naval exercise southeast of the Greek islands of Rhodes and Kastellorizo.
The Greek Council of Chiefs of Staff convened immediately after the Turkish NAVTEX was issued in order to assess the situation in the eastern Mediterranean and decide on steps that must be taken.
As of Monday morning, the Turkish research vessel Oruc Reis was seen heading toward Greece’s continental shelf, accompanied by ships from the neighboring country’s Navy.
According to the Turkish NAVTEX, which will be in effect until August 23, the western end of the area intended for oil and gas research stops exactly where the coordinates of the Greek/Egyptian agreement begin.
Reports say that in the past 48 hours the Oruc Reis and the vessels accompanying it have their transmitters turned off so they cannot be detected by the marine traffic authorities which track the course of ships in the Mediterranean.
Greek Navy ships are currently monitoring the moves made by the Turkish vessels.
The Oruc Reis was to drill for oil and gas in the same area on July 24, but that mission was called off after statements issued by the European Union and the U.S. State Department.
On Monday afternoon, the Greek Navy responded to the Turkish moves with the following anti-NAVTEX:
100640 AUG 20
IRAKLEIO STATION NAVWARN 455/20
SOUTHEAST CRETAN SEA
1. UNAUTHORIZED STATION HAS BROADCAST NAVTEX
MESSAGE NUMBER FA26-1024/20 IN HELLENIC NAVTEX
SERVICE AREA, REFFERING TO UNAUTHORIZED AND
ILLEGAL ACTIVITY IN AN AREA THAT OVERLAPS THE
GREEK CONTINENTAL SHELF.
IRAKLEIO NAVTEX STATION HAS THE AUTHORITY TO
BROADCAST NAVTEX MESSAGES IN THE AREA.
2. ALL MARINERS ARE REQUESTED TO DISREGARD NAVTEX
MESSAGE NUMBER FA26-1024/20.
3. CANCEL THIS MESSAGE 232059 UTC AUG 20.
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