London: Islamic State has consolidated its position in the Libyan port of Sirte and is now heading west to the port city of Misrata, a UK maritime security firm has warned in an update.
Libya, in the midst of a five-year bitter civil war, has seen oil exports crippled as pipelines and ports have come under attack.
Maritime Asset Security and Training (MAST) noted that Misrata is currently held by the Libyan Dawn, based in Tripoli. They are calling for a united effort to assist in preventing Islamic State from making progress through the country.
Gerry Northwood, MAST’s COO, commented: “Any port that is ISIL held might be subject to aerial bombing by the Tobruk government. Therefore, we strongly advise that prior to entering a Libyan port a full risk assessment be conducted. It is also necessary to maintain a good watch on the commercial status of the port, as closures can occur at short or no notice.”
A couple of ships have been bombed this year by Libyan aircraft, most recently the product tanker Anwar Afriqya (34,648 dwt, built 2004) on May 24.
A bulker berthed recently at Ras Lanuf’s non-oil port, MAST noted, to discharge cement but found the port closed with Libya’s National Oil Company (NOC) declaring force majeure.
NOC also stated that there would be no oil exports from Ras Lanuf or the neighbouring Es Sider Oil Port.