I love this story so much. A Venezuelan naval vessel called the Naiguata sank in the Caribbean this week after it harassed and fired upon a cruise ship called the RCGS Resolute. Here’s what the Naiguata looked like (before it sank).

Here’s how this happened. Early Monday morning, the Resolute was in international waters near Tortuga. The crew was busy performing maintenance on one of its engines. The Resolute’s 2nd engine was kept running to prevent the ship from drifting. The company that owns the Resolute described what happened next in a statement:

Shortly after mid-night, the cruise vessel was approached by an armed Venezuelan navy vessel, which via radio questioning the intentions of the RCGS RESOLUTE’s presence and gave the order to follow to Puerto Moreno on Isla De Margarita. As the RCGS RESOLUTE was sailing in international waters at that time, the Master wanted to reconfirm this particular request resulting into a serious deviation from the scheduled vessel’s route with the company DPA.

While the Master was in contact with the head office, gun shots were fired and, shortly thereafter, the navy vessel approached the starboard side at speed with an angle of 135° and purposely collided with the RCGS RESOLUTE. The navy vessel continued to ram the starboard bow in an apparent attempt to turn the ship’s head towards Venezuelan territorial waters.

What the captain of the Naiguata apparently did not know is that the Resolute is a polar expedition vessel. In fact, the company’s website says, “RCGS Resolute, our flagship vessel was purpose built for polar expedition cruising with the highest ice class (Lloyds 1AS). Equipped with propellers of stainless steel, high density steel plating and small frame spacing on her hull, RCGS Resolute continues into the ice, when others simply cannot.”

In short, this is a tough, ice-breaking ship whose bow is designed to take a pounding and keep going. So when the Naiguata rammed the cruise ship, it did some superficial damage to the Resolute but the collision did a lot of damage to the Venezuelan ship. The Naiguata began taking on water and reportedly sank. The Resolute called for help and contacted the crew to offer assistance but its calls were ignored. The Resolute remained nearby until released but other vessels rescued the Venezuelan crew.

There is an even better version of this story circulating in which, after it was attacked, the Resolute rammed the Naiguata in response. In fact, the official Venezuelan statement on the matter is claiming the cruise ship initiated the attack:

On March 30, 2020, at 00:45, the Coast Guard Naiguatá (GC-23), of the Bolivarian Navy, being in maritime patrol tasks of our territorial sea, to the northwest of La Tortuga Island; It was boarded (collided) by the passenger ship “Resolute”, (122 meters long and 8300 tons of displacement), with the Portuguese flag, at the time it was undergoing a maritime traffic control procedure, which caused damage of great magnitude and caused the anxiety of the aforementioned coastguard.

The statement goes on to say that the ship is “currently in the port of Willemstad, the capital of Curaçao, where it docked in the morning of today.” I’ve seen one claim online that Venezuela attempted to change the transponder of a tug boat so it would appear the Naiguata was in harbor. But a second Venezuelan statement seems to confirm the ship sank:

Minister of Popular Power for Defense, Vladimir Padrino López, explained that the Venezuelan vessel activated the protocols established in international treaties, where he was ordered to go to the port of Margarita. “Being escorted, he decided to ram the Bolivarian navy ship, which caused its sinking,” he said.

So there you have it. The Venezuelan navy took on an armored cruise ship and lost badly. The regime of Nicolas Maduro is left sputtering about being the victim of an attack and the possibility that the cruise ship, “was transporting mercenaries to attack military bases in Venezuela.”

Here’s a promotional video about the Resolute from October: