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Guyana says Venezuelan navy interception of Exxon vessel 'illegal' and 'hostile'

A research vessel, the Ramform Tethys, that was conducting seismic work for Exxon Mobil Corp. in Guyanese waters was intercepted by the Venezuelan navy Dec. 22, Guyana's foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ship was intercepted approximately 140 kilometers from the nearest point to the provisional equidistant line with Venezuela.

The ministry called the incident an "illegal, aggressive and hostile act perpetrated by the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela," and said it will bring the matter to the attention of the United Nations.

The ministry said it was sending formal communication to Venezuela's government and that it was in the process of informing the various governments of the 70 crew members aboard the vessel, flagged by the Bahamas, of the "threat to their safety."