FONOPS off Venezuela 2020. Historical/Alternate History Scenario.
A Harpoon Commander's Edition scenario for EC2003 Battle for the Caribbean Basin Battleset and the HCDB2-170909 (or later) 1980-2025 era Platform Database. This scenario is designed with Advanced Scenario Editor and to be run with HCE 2015.008+ or later.
This scenario is designed to be played from the Blue/US-Allied side or from the Red/Venezuela side. You should play a few times first the Blue/US-Allied side to avoid spoilers, and only later play the Red/Venezuela side.
Image: The littoral combat ship USS Detroit (LCS-7) travels in formation with the guided missile destroyers USS Lassen (DDG-82), USS Preble (DDG-88) and USS Farragut (DDG-99), as well as a Navy P-8A aircraft while conducting maritime security operations in the Caribbean Sea, May 11, 2020. Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Anderson W. Branch, VIRIN: 200511-N-KK394-1564Y.JPG, took by a serviceperson on duty, and in consequence in public domain.
Freedom of Navigation is a principle of consuetudinary international law, relative to freedom movement of vessels of sovereign states without the interference of other states, with the exceptions provided by international law.
Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPS) are operations of naval ships transits to enforce and guarantee Freedom of Navigation in dubious or contested maritime zones, and codified as in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The U.S. Navy executes freedom of navigation operations with regularity. Though the U.S. is not a signatory to UNCLOS, it broadly supports UNCLOS framework for freedom of navigation, and the Navy routinely carries out transits and other operations to demonstrate the recognized limits of claimed territorial seas, most highlighted in the South China Sea.
The United States was the signatory of the 1958 version on UNCLOS which had many of the same provisions as the current treaty. When the required number of nation-states has ratified it, UNCLOS goes into effect and becomes part of international law for the entire world, including the US. UNCLOS was recognized and adhered to by the US since 1983 as part of the Reagan administration's ocean policy. US Navy FONOPS is based on UNCLOS.
Venezuela has from some time ago required prior notification for military operations between its 12 nautical miles territorial seas boundary and its EEZ boundary extended to 200 nautical miles, and it has challenged U.S. government vessels in this zone.
Also, the U.S. does not recognize the administration of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, favoring political opposition leader Juan Guaido instead.
In 2020, and in the aftermath of the March 31-April 1 night, when the Venezuelan patrol ship Naiguata (GC-23) was sunk by ramming of the reinforced arctic hull of RNMS Resolute cruise ship with Portuguese flag, under accusations of attempt to throwing the Maduro regimen, USN persists on its FONOPS operations.
Venezuela is determined in the control and identification on ships sailing its EEZ, and after the RNMS Resolute incident, the clash is almost inevitable.
This scenario is qualified as "historical" because the present forces are the same historically available at August 2020.
Enrique Mas, August 29, 2020.