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Libyan Government in Tripoli Seizes Tanker, Alleges Smuggling of Gasoline

  • VOA News

The Captain Khayyam, an oil tanker, is seen in Tripoli Naval Base after Libyan naval forces captured it, Feb. 13, 2016.

The Captain Khayyam, an oil tanker, is seen in Tripoli Naval Base after Libyan naval forces captured it, Feb. 13, 2016.

The coast guard of Libya's self-declared government has seized a foreign tanker that it says was smuggling nearly 2 million liters of gasoline.

Officials in Tripoli identified the tanker as the Captain Kahayyam and said the coast guard intercepted it Friday. The tanker's crew is from Azerbaijan, Turkey and Ukraine.

It was unclear under which country's flag it was sailing, but at least two reports said it was Sierra Leone.

Libya is torn between two rival governments — an Islamic-backed administration in Tripoli and the internationally recognized government in Tobruk.

U.N. efforts to put together a unity government that can assert its authority have not succeeded, allowing such extremist groups as Islamic State to seize territory.

Oil production, upon which the Libyan economy depends, has plummeted since longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi was toppled and killed in 2011.

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