A closeup of the USS Pinckney showing the warship’s main gun, vertical-launch missile tubes and Aegis radar. Navy photo

The guided missile destroyer USS Pinckney challenged Venezuela’s claim to international waters during a freedom-of-navigation operation in the Caribbean Sea.

The Navy reported Wednesday that the San Diego-based ship acted to “uphold the rights, freedoms, access and lawful uses of international waters and airspace guaranteed to all nations.”

The Navy said the Nicolás Maduro regime in Venezuela illegally claims three miles of sea beyond the 12-mile limit recognized by international law.

“We will exercise our lawful right to freely navigate international waters without acquiescing to unlawful claims,” said Adm. Craig Faller, commander of the U.S. Southern Command.

In June, the Norfolk-based destroyer USS Nitze completed a similar operation.

The Pinckney, as well as other Navy and Coast Guard ships, are currently operating in the Caribbean as part of an enhanced counter narcotics operation ordered by President Trump.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.