Turkish vessels are in the area surrounding Cyprus� block 3 in the island�s EEZ (exclusive economic zone), it was reported on Friday.
According to government sources quoted by the state broadcaster Cybc, Turkish vessels were harassing the Saipem 12000 drillship shortly before it entered the Cuttlefish plot in block 3.
The area is an exploration target for Italian energy giant ENI.
Government sources reportedly said they had an open line of communication with ENI on how to deal with the issue.
Similar tactics have been carried out in the past. However, at present they are more intense, Cybc said. The matter will be reported to international organisations, according to the state broadcaster.
On Feb. 6 Turkish authorities issued a notice to mariners (FA78-0198), reserving for �military training� a vast area encompassing virtually the whole of the island�s southern waters.
The reserved area covers Cyprus� block 3 and the Turkish Navtex will be in force on February 18 � at the same time that the drillship leased by ENI will be operating in the area.
In response, Cyprus issued its own Navtex (NR 074/18) advising seafarers that the Turkish notice constitutes �unauthorised and illegal activity in the exclusive economic zone, the continental shelf and the search and rescue region of the Republic of Cyprus�.
�This action is illegal, constitutes a violation of international law, affects maritime safety procedures and is also a criminal offence under the laws of the Republic of Cyprus.�
In turn, Turkey issued a new Navtex (0202/18) in a bid to countermand the Cypriot one.
It read: �The �Cyprus� mentioned in Larnaca Navwarn NR 074/18 is not the original partnership state established in 1960.�