A Venezuelan Coast Guard boat deployed to conduct maritime patrol sank in the Caribbean Sea after it collided with a Portuguese cruise ship, on Monday.
The “Resolute” cruise ship bearing a Portuguese flag crashed into the Navy’s “Naiguatá GC-23” patrol boat with 44 onboard just north of La Tortuga islands within Venezuelan territorial waters, the Venezuelan Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
“The action of the ship ‘Resolute’ is cowardly and criminal because it did not attend to the rescue of the crew, violating the international regulations that regulate the rescue of life at sea. This ship is currently in the port of Willemstad, the capital of Curaçau, where it docked this morning,” the ministry said.
The Guaicamacuto-Class coastal surveillance ship built by Spanish firm Navantia was delivered to Venezuela in June 2009, four years after a contract for 8 patrol boats was signed. The boat, powered by two diesel engines, has a displacement of 1700 tons and can attain a maximum speed of 22knots.
The vessels of this class incorporate a mono-hull and superstructure made of steel. Other notable features include a flight deck, stern ramp for a RHIB boat and fire-fighting equipment and system. The class is equipped with communications intelligence (COMINT) and LINK Y datalink and identification, friend or foe (IFF) systems.
The main gun fitted forward is a 76mm / 62 Oto Melara that can fire at a rate of 120 rounds a minute for a maximum range of 30,000m. Guaicamacuto ships also have an Oerlikon Millennium 35mm close-in weapon system (CIWS) at the stern. It has a maximum rate of fire of 1,000 rounds a minute. The firing is controlled by the fire-control system employing radar or electro-optical trackers.
The ammunition used includes armor-piercing, incendiary and directed fragmentation. It protects the hostile ship from aircraft, short-range anti-ship missiles and surface threats.