While peacefully operating in the Caribbean Sea, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Nitze conducted a freedom of navigation operation on June 23, contesting an excessive maritime claim by Venezuela.
The U.S. Navy ship conducted the operation in international waters outside Venezuela’s 12 nautical-mile territorial jurisdiction. During the operation, the ship lawfully navigated an area the illegitimate Nicolás Maduro regime falsely claims to have control over, a claim that is inconsistent with international law.
The U.S. Navy routinely conducts freedom of navigation operations around the world to preserve the maritime navigation and access rights guaranteed to all nations and vital to the global mobility of U.S. forces.
Global access to international waters protects U.S. national interests, promotes a just international order, and ensures the U.S. Navy can accomplish key missions, including humanitarian assistance deployments, disaster relief operations, support to international counternarcotics efforts, and multinational exercises that strengthen regional partnerships.
“The United States will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, preserving the rights, freedoms, and lawful use of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all nations,” said U.S. Navy Admiral Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command. “These freedoms are the bedrock of ongoing security efforts, and essential to regional peace and stability.”