US warship sails near Venezuela after arriving of Iranian ships
A U.S. Navy ship was sailing along the Venezuelan coast on Tuesday in what the U.S. Southern Command called a "free navigation operation."
The Southern Command said the USS Nitze, a missile destroyer, was sailing in an area outside the territorial waters of Venezuela-which extends some 12 nautical miles from its coasts-but within an area the Venezuelan government "falsely claims to have control over."
The move comes after the Trump administration announced in April that it was partially deploying more U.S. military assets to the Caribbean to disrupt alleged drug shipments by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, a socialist considered illegitimate by the U.S. and dozens of other, mostly Western, countries.
With US sanctions on its key oil industry leaving Venezuela increasingly isolated, Maduro turned to Iran last month for fuel shipments-another country under heavy U.S. sanctions. Washington said it considered responding to those shipments but did not take any military action.
Neither the information ministry of Venezuela nor the press office of its armed forces immediately replied to requests for comment.
Although President Donald Trump has maintained that all options for ousting Maduro are on the table, U.S. officials have made it clear that there is little appetite for military action.
Maritime Business World