Cable Ship in Mediterranean Causes Tensions Between Turkey and Greece

A cable ship in the Mediterranean has heightened tensions between Turkey and Greece, causing diplomatic friction over disputed waters.By Dan Swinhoe, Data Center Dynamics
July 5, 2024

A cable ship laying a subsea cable in the Mediterranean has found itself in the middle of an international quibble.

Greek City Times and other local press report that Orange Marine’s CS Teliri was recently issued multiple disputing Navigational Telexes (Navtex) from Greek and Turkish authorities while laying a subsea fiber cable in the Mediterranean near Turkey (officially Türkiye).

Navtex is an international information service used to issue maritime warnings and other information. Transmissions are typically transmitted from local weather authorities, navies and coast guards, or national navigation authorities.

Turkish authorities claimed the Italian-flagged ship was operating in Turkish waters without permission, while Greek authorities claimed the ship was operating legally in Greek waters. Sailing south of Rhodes and east of Crete, the ship is laying cables for the Blue Med system. Turkish authorities claimed the ship was operating in an area of ​​the “Turkish continental shelf.”

Ekathimerini reported the Turkish Navy was “monitoring the movements” of the Teliri, with covettes the Bartin, and Bozcaada nearby. The Greek Navy in turn deployed the warship Grigoropoulos nearby.

The two countries – which have long had testy relations – dispute who has control of much of the waters in the area. Under the UN’s Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), territorial waters extend 12 nautical miles from land and grant foreign ships innocent passage – but Turkey is not a signatory to UNCLOS. The two countries share a border, and several Greek islands are only a few miles from Turkish territory.

Greece is a signature to UNCLOS, and claims the water under the so-called Seville Map, while Turkey claims much of the territory under its Blue Homeland strategy. Turkey’s occupation of Northern Cyprus (known as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus) isn’t recognized by the UN, creating more issues over claims around that island.

Read more…