A Venezuelan CG (Coast Guard) patrol boat capsized and sank after a collision with the Portuguese-flagged cruise ship RCGS Resolute. The collision occurred in international waters in the early morning of Monday, March 30. The cruise vessel owned by the Canada-based company One Ocean Expeditions. The accident happened approx 15 mi (25 km) off Tortuga Island.
Before the collision, the Venezuelan patrol boat crew radioed the ship's crew warning them they were in Venezuelan territorial waters and that they were to proceed to Puerto Moreno on Margarita Island (El Guamache, Venezuela) for processing.
In a statement released on Wednesday, April 1, Columbia Cruise Services Ltd (ship's managing company) said the Venezuelan crew fired warning shots into the air as their boat approached the vessel’s starboard side at a high speed. According to the company's statement, the patrol boat repeatedly rammed the bow of RCGS Resolute in an attempt to turn the vessel towards Venezuelan territorial waters.
Both vessels suffered hull damages, but the seaworthiness of the cruise ship was not affected. Meanwhile, the patrol boat started taking on water, keeled over and sank. All the 44 Venezuelan crew were rescued.
Venezuela's Government maintains it was the cruise ship crew who was to blame for the accident, saying that it had rammed into the boat and not the other way around. Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro said the collision was an “act of terrorism and piracy” committed by the Portuguese ship’s crew. The two countries have opened diplomatic channels to ease tensions and clear up conflicting reports in connection with the accident.
Columbia Cruise Services reported that RCGS Resolute is currently berthed in Port Willemstad (Curacao) for an investigation.
For other RCGS Resolute accidents and incidents see at the ship's CruiseMinus page.