Nicaragua patrols its new Caribbean maritime territory

November 27, 2012

MANAGUA – Nicaraguan Army Gen. Julio César Avilés said Tuesday that Nicaraguan Coast Guard ships are now patrolling the maritime area recently turned over to the country following a ruling by the International Court of Justice.

“We are at the [maritime border] limits that the world court has assigned us. We sailed east of longitude 82 and the cays of Quitasueño, Serrana and the southern part of San Andrés, and there is no presence of Colombian Navy ships,” he added.

The military official said he was confident that Nicaragua and Colombia – which rejects the court ruling – “will soon make the necessary arrangements to keep peace and security in the Caribbean.”

On radio and television Monday night, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega announced his country would “exercise sovereignty” over the maritime territory. But he added that fishermen from San Andrés, Honduras, Costa Rica and Jamaica could “fish where the usually have, … but now, Nicaragua must grant permission.”

On Nov. 19, the world court issued a binding ruling in a dispute between Bogotá and Managua that stated all islands, islets and cays in the disputed area belong to Colombia, while some 90,000 km2 of maritime territory in the Caribbean was placed under Nicaraguan control.

Colombia rejected the decision and on Monday formed a committee of experts to consider legal action, including a possible withdrawal from the Bogotá Pact of 1948, by which that country accepted the world court’s jurisdiction.

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