Turkey has purchased its third offshore drilling vessel which will arrive in Turkey next month, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Wednesday, adding that the ship will begin operations soon.
"This vessel will arrive in Turkey in March and we plan for it to start drilling after development and testing processes," Erdoğan said, speaking to lawmakers from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in the capital Ankara.
He said the new ship was an "ultra maritime drillship" that can drill down to 11,400 meters but did not specify where the ship would operate.
Turkey was reported to have bought the drillship on Feb. 9 for nearly $40 million. "Sertao" is worth much more, but Port Talbot officials reportedly were in a hurry to sell it. The drillship, which has been docked idle and unsold for nearly two years at the port of the Welsh town, has an estimated market value of $120 million.
The drillship was produced by Samsung in South Korea. It was used by Brazil's Petrobras between 2012 and 2015.
The Marshall Island-flagged drillship has a length of 227 meters, a width of 42 meters and a draft of 12 meters. It can reach as much as 11,400 meters below sea level and drill to a depth of 3,000 meters below the sea bed.
The vessel will work along with Fatih and Yavuz in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration's unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also has rights to the resources in the area.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus' annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. TRNC was founded in 1983.
The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries – Turkey, Greece and the U.K. – came to an end without any progress in 2017 in Switzerland.
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