Cairo: A product tanker carrying fuel to Libyan rebel forces has been diverted by the country’s recognised government, which threatened an air attack on the vessel.
The Libya-flagged tanker, Anwaar Afriqya (34,700 dwt, built 2004), was diverted on January 25 to the government-controlled port of Tobruk from its original destination of Misrata.
The captain said he had been told in repeated phone calls to move to Tobruk or get bombed, Libya’s Lana news agency reports.
The tanker was carrying 24,000 tonnes of fuel oil, Mashallah Zwai, oil minister for the rival government, told Lana.
The vessel is operated by General National Maritime Transport Company (GNMTC), a Libyan state-owned company that operates a variety of tankers for crude, products and LPG.
Libya’s recognised government is headquartered in the east of the country. Tripoli has been controlled since last summer by rival Libya Dawn forces, which have formed their own government. The rival government controls ports and airports in western Libya.
Rival forces have attempted to seize the eastern ports of Ras Lanuf (Rasco), Ras Lanuf ‘Harouge’, Benghazi and Es Sider, which all remain closed after armed clashes, according to an advisory issued today by Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS).
Meanwhile, bad weather has closed the ports of Bouri, Jurf, Mellitah, Zawia, Tripoli, Khums and Misurata. Zuietina is still closed due to strike action.
The only Libyan ports operating normally are Brega, Tobruk and M. El Hariga, ISS says.
Last week, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) advised its members to reconsider making Libyan port calls in light of recent attacks on vessels. [27/01/15]