Britain backs Guyana against Venezuela's incursion into its maritime space

Britain has become the second major Western superpower to come out in recent days strongly in favour of Guyana, after Venezuela's Navy on Saturday attempted to land a helicopter on the ship, Ramform Tethys.

The seismic research vessel was hired by ExxonMobil to gather data from the western end of the Stabroek Block in Guyana.

US-based ExxonMobil initiated oil and gas exploration activities in Guyana in 2008.

Venezuela has said the seismic ship and a Trinidad and Tobago-flagged support vessel had been well within its maritime space in the Orinoco River Delta area over which it has undisputed sovereignty.

The Venezuelan military exited the area and the ships have since moved further east.

Britain's High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn told Guyana media that like the US, the UK is clear that the 1899 Arbitral Award settled the border between Guyana and Venezuela.

High Commissioner Quinn said the rule of law must be respected and those who have legitimate permission to operate and undertake their activities must be allowed to do so.

In the meantime, CARICOM has said it is gravely concerned about Venezuela's incursion into Guyanese maritime space.

In a statement, it said such acts violate the sovereign rights of Guyana under international law, its entitlement to a territorial sea, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, and pose a threat to Guyana's economic development and national security.

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