Libyan separatists promise to protect ships calling at their ports

Cairo: The waters have been further muddied in the ongoing dispute between Tripoli and a separatist movement in the east of the country which has blocked three key oil export ports for nearly six months plunging the nation’s oil output in the process.

Despite force majeure being in place for the ports of Es-Sider, Ras Lanuf and Zuweitina and Tripoli repeatedly warning tanker owners to steer clear of the area or face being bombed, the Libyan seperatists have now said they will protect any ship calling in the east of the country.

"We welcome global oil companies. The oil security guards will guarantee the safety of tankers," said leader of the movement, Abd-Rabbo al-Barassi.

A Maltese-flagged tanker was stopped and turned away from calling at one of the disputed ports on Sunday.  [09/01/13]

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