(changes dateline, re-ledes with Nicaraguan statement)
Colombia has assumed a "hostile posture" toward a Nicaraguan civilian boat carrying out scientific research in Caribbean waters claimed by both nations, Nicaragua said Thursday.
"Nicaragua denounces this violation of national sovereignty as well as these kinds of unfriendly attitudes that violate the principles of international coexistence," foreign ministry legal adviser Cesar Vega said, reading from a prepared statement.
The government in Managua reacted to a claim by the Colombian navy that the Nicaraguan vessel, the MedePesca III, had entered Colombia's territorial waters and was refusing to withdraw.
The MedePesca III was operating around the islet of Quitasueño, one of six keys claimed by both Colombia and Nicaragua.
Colombian naval units confronted the Nicaraguan boat and demanded that it withdraw, but the skipper of the MedePesca III refused, citing "clear instructions from the government of Nicaragua to continue with his purpose and follow his course," Bogota said earlier Thursday.
Two Colombian warships and a C-130 Hercules aircraft have been harassing the MedePesca III and attempting to prevent the crew from conducting research, the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry said.
"The only aim of those scientific labors is to collect information to be presented at the forum of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, to be held in Panama in November," the ministry said, demanding an "immediate cessation" of Colombia's hostile activities.
The International Court of Justice is currently considering the competing claims of Managua and Bogota to the six keys surrounding the Colombian islands of San Andres and Providencia.
The ICJ has already confirmed Colombian sovereignty over San Andres and Providencia, part of an archipelago that lies 775 kilometers (480 miles) from mainland Colombia and 220 kilometers (140 miles) from the coast of Nicaragua.
Besides the six keys, Nicaragua claims some 50,000 sq. kilometers (19,305 sq. miles) of waters surrounding the islets. EFE