Turkish warships 'threaten to sink drillship'

Eni vessel at centre of row over Cypriot field.

Turkish warships have threatened to sink an Eni drillship off Cyprus, according to local reports.

The 59,000-dwt Saipem 12000 (built 2010) also had to take evasive action to avoid a collision with four or five Turkish naval vessels, Skai radio said on Friday.

The ship has reportedly been prevented from carrying out operations in Block 3 off Cyprus.

It had attempted to approach its survey location, prompting threats from the Turkish warships.

The drillship has now left for Morocco.

Reuters reported that the Cypriot government said earlier this month that the Turkish military was obstructing the ship, highlighting tensions over offshore resources in the east Mediterranean.

Turkey did not comment at that time.

A spokesperson for state-controlled Eni in Italy had confirmed the drillship was stopped earlier this month by the Turkish military.

Turkey, which supports a breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in north Cyprus, says Greek Cypriots have no jurisdiction to explore for natural gas, which the Greek Cypriot side disputes.