A Venezuelan Navy patrol vessel sank in the Caribbean… after losing a battle against a cruise ship.
On March 30, 2020, a Columbia Cruise Services cruise ship–the Resolute–was carrying out routine engine maintenance in international waters, about 15 miles from the Venezuelan island of La Tortuga. La Tortuga itself is about 60 miles from the mainland of Venezuela.
Venezuela, however, decided the cruise ship’s routine presence near Venezuelan waters was an “act of aggression… in international waters.”
As a result, the Venezuelan Navy ordered their ship, the Naiguata, to follow the cruise ship to its port.
According to a statement by Germany-based Columbia Cruise Services, that’s where the situation turned ugly.
“While the master was in contact with the head office, gunshots were fired and, shortly thereafter, the navy vessel approached the starboard side at speed… and purposely collided with the RCGS Resolute,” the statement said.
“The navy vessel continued to ram the starboard bow in an apparent attempt to turn the ship’s head towards Venezuelan territorial waters.”
Unfortunately for Venezuela, the Resolute was originally built as a polar expedition vessel–meaning its hull was reinforced in case the cruise ship had to break through ice.
As a result, the Resolute suffered minimal damage… while the Naiguata quickly began taking on water and soon began to sink.
Columbia Cruise Services said the Resolute tried to contact the sinking Naiguata, but calls went unanswered. The Resolute eventually sailed to the nearby Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao.
Meanwhile, the Naiguata sank. Authorities claim that the crew was rescued, but did not provide any additional details.
Venezuela, however, slammed the Resolute for “cowardly and criminal” behavior, “since it did not attend to the rescue of the crew.” It also accused the Resolute of ramming the Naiguata, not the other way around.
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has ordered a full investigation of the sinking.