SapuraKencana Petroleum Berhad (SapuraKencana) is thankful to the Government of Venezuela for releasing today the 36-member crew of SapuraKencana’s research vessel Teknik Perdana, which was picked up and taken by Venezuela's Navy to Margarita Island for checks, while working in disputed waters on October 10 2013.
We wish to express our gratitude to the Venezuelan Government for caring for the safety and welfare of the crew, which comprises multiple nationalities, during the time they were at Margarita Island and also for releasing the vessel.
Our thanks also to Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Wisma Putra) for rendering timely assistance in the matter which has eventually resulted in a positive outcome for our staff and company.
On Monday, SapuraKencana’s President and Group CEO, Tan Sri Shahril Shamsuddin, met the Venezuelan Ambassador to Malaysia, His Excellency Manuel Antonio Guzman Hernandez, to discuss ways to resolve the matter and inquire about the crew's welfare. At that meeting, the Venezuelan Ambassador gave a firm assurance that the crew were safe and were being treated well by the authorities there.
The Ambassador had also explained to Tan Sri Shahril that the Teknik Perdana was taken to Margarita Island for national security reasons so that the authorities could ascertain and verify documentation and equipment that it was indeed engaged in research work.
"We wish to thank the Ambassador for his kind assistance in this matter and are also grateful to the Government of Venezuela for caring for the crew of the vessel and expediting their release," said Tan Sri Shahril.
Tan Sri Shahril also expressed SapuraKencana's appreciation to Wisma Putra for helping to resolve this issue, especially to the Undersecretary, Americas Division, Datuk Syed Sultan bin Mohd Idris, for providing regular updates on the situation.
"A special thanks to the Malaysian Ambassador to Venezuela, His Excellency Mahinder Singh, for rushing to Margarita Island and being hands-on looking after the welfare of the crew members there," he added.
The Teknik Perdana was conducting a seabed survey for its customer Anadarko Petroleum USA, which was working for the Guyana Government, when it was boarded by Venezuelan Navy personnel and sailed to Margarita Island. It has been reported that the waters in area where the survey work was being conducted by Teknik Perdana, a non-military vessel whose sole purpose is undertake oil and gas related survey work, is under dispute between the governments of Guyana and Venezuela.
SapuraKencana was constantly in communication with the captain of the vessel as well as the 36 crew members when they were in Margarita Island. Next of kin of crew members were also kept informed of steps being taken to secure their release and manage their welfare.
Several key SapuraKencana company officials were despatched to Venezuela to look after the welfare of all our staff and facilitate at meetings with the Venezuelan Navy and government authorities.