Venezuelan navy boat sinks after repeatedly ramming cruise ship

The Resolute.
The Resolute. Photo credit: Rab Driver/Wikipedia

A Venezuelan navy boat has come off second-best after reportedly ramming a cruise ship idling off its northern coast.

The German-owned RCGS Resolute was idling in international waters near Isla de Tortuga when it was attacked, its owners said, in a futile attempt to perhaps take it back to Venezuela.

"Gunshots were fired and, shortly thereafter, the navy vessel approached the starboard side at speed with an angle of 135 degrees and purposely collided with the RCGS Resolute," Columbia Cruise Services said on its website.

"The navy vessel continued to ram the starboard bow in an apparent attempt to turn the ship’s head towards Venezuelan territorial waters."

But the Resolute has "high-density steel plating and small frame spacing on her hull", according to expedition operator OneOcean, because it's often used in the polar regions. 

It sustained minor damage not affecting its seaworthiness, but the Venezuelan vessel started taking on water.

According to Columbia, the Resolute's crew contacted nearby maritime rescue services and waited around to ensure everyone on the sinking navy boat was safe, before leaving the area. 

But Venezuela's version of events is a bit different. The socialist state's armed forces blamed the collision on the Resolute, and left the sinking vessel and its crew to their fate.   

"The action of the ship Resolute is considered cowardly and criminal, since it did not attend to the rescue of the crew, in breach of the international regulations that regulate the rescue of life at sea," Chief General Vladimir Padrino Lopez said. 

"Our immediate search and rescue work, together with the professional and courageous performance of our personnel, allowed the full rescue of the crew."

Venezuela also suggested the Resolute may have been carrying mercenary soldiers planning "to attack military bases in Venezuela". Columbia said there were 32 crew and no passengers aboard. 

"A full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident will now be carried out."

Cruise ships haven't got a good rep right now, partially blamed for spreading the coronavirus around the world.