News / Middle East

    Officials: Libyan Navy Seizes Tanker at Rebel-Held Port

    A North Korean-flagged tanker is docked at the Es Sider export terminal in Ras Lanuf, Libya, March 8, 2014.
    A North Korean-flagged tanker is docked at the Es Sider export terminal in Ras Lanuf, Libya, March 8, 2014.
    VOA News
    Libyan officials said their forces have intercepted a tanker carrying crude oil that a separatist militia was trying export in defiance of a government ban.
     
    Culture minister and government spokesman Habib al-Ameen said Monday that Libya's navy had "completely secured" the ship.
     
    "The authorities, until this moment, are very clearly in control of the tanker, and the tanker is safe and fully protected by the Libyan naval forces, no one from the other side can come close to it," said al-Ameen.
     
    The tanker had been docked at the militia-controlled eastern port of As-Sidra since Saturday.
     
    Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said Monday the navy was leading the tanker to a western port controlled by the government.
     
    A rebel spokesman denied they had lost control of the ship.
     
    The vessel - Morning Glory - is North Korea-flagged, but it is not clear who actually owns it. Shipping sources say it is a flag of convenience to keep ownership secret.
     
    Also on Monday, Libya's parliament ordered special forces to deploy within a week to "liberate" all rebel-held ports in the country's volatile east.
     
    The head of parliament, Nuri Ali Abu Sahmain, who has quasi-presidential powers, ordered the formation of a force made up of regular soldiers and allied militias to take back the ports, which previously handled a total of more than 700,000 barrels of oil per day.
     
    Militias have controlled Libya's major ports for the last eight months, causing a sharp drop in the country's oil exports.  The output has fallen from about 1.5 million barrels per day to about 250,000 barrels per day.
     
    In New York, the head of the United Nations mission in Libya told the U.N. Security Council there has been a "dramatic" rise in violence in Libya in the past three months. Tarek Mitri said the country is at risk of experiencing "a new trajectory of unprecedented violence."
     
    He said Libya needs support for its democratic transition, and highlighted lingering disagreements over future elections, rebuilding the army and integrating fighters who helped oust former leader Moammar Gadhafi.
     
    Analysts think the Libyan military would likely struggle to overcome rebels, many of whom have combat experience from the 2011 uprising that toppled Gadhafi. The rebels have kept their weapons and now challenge state authority.
     
    The oil dispute is just one facet of the deepening turmoil in the North African OPEC-member nation.
     
    Bringing Libya’s factions and heavily-armed militias together under one flag continues to pose a great challenge. Analysts say the consequences of failure would affect the entire region.

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    Comments
         
    by: abdo from: banghazi
    March 10, 2014 8:27 PM
    The reason for the sale of oil . Was the interim government and the Libyan parliament conducting a policy of collective punishment on the east of the country where there are no health or security , or any other services .. where Benghazi and Derna turned into hotbeds of criminality and settling accounts
    In Benghazi fall victims every day and do not see any action from the state or the government
    But when the talk on oil. See them on the screens .. Unfortunately, oil is more precious than the lives of their citizens
    the problem of the system of government practiced by the central authorities, where it was the monopoly of the state in all Mussat Tripoli
    He became Middle Libyan does not do anything , after returning to the central government , about 1000 km from Benghazi
    Rendering the voices calling for the return of federal system of government the Constitution of 1951
    Ironically. The place where the oil comes out of it. Does not enjoy any of this revenue.
    problem that the government has the great corruption and the offerer not take any action about this corruption
    Reaching disbursements in three years more than 150 billion Libyan dinars and did not see anything on the ground
    Libya was complaining of a thief one.
    We are now complaining about the two hundred thief did not feel full yet

    by: ali baba from: new york
    March 10, 2014 12:46 PM
    The united state had made a very poor decision for supporting the rebel in Libya. by getting rid of Gadhafi, The country is in anarchy state The united state has giving arm ,money for rebel who are connected with terrorist organization like Osama bin laden. They kill American ambassador.

    by: musawi melake
    March 10, 2014 7:49 AM
    The entire idea and the expedition to get-rid of Muamar Gadafi was to get a firm hold on that oil reserves!, and now the US feels uneasy when the legitimate owners, a portion of the Lybian poplation, try to sell their own things to those they like, for the price they think is right. It's high time that the Lybians rise against neo-colonial attempts to exploit them!
    In Response

    by: John from: Oslo, Norway
    March 19, 2014 12:28 PM
    If you cared to look at the oil imported from Libya to the US, the amount is extremely small and low in value. If anything, the living conditions in libya has increased because of "Qaddafi" being overthrown. Freedom increased, wages increased, internet access increased (dramatically, idiot). They gained plenty of benefits. And stop living in the west if you hate it so much. Idiot. Legitiment my butt.
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 10, 2014 11:42 AM
    MY OPINION? .... The US and EU and the Saudis staged the protests in Benghazi, and got the UN to give permission for a "No Fly Zone" to protect innocent civilians, as an excuse to kill Qaddafi and his family, because he was going to nationalize the oil companies by the foreigners, who were blatantly stealing Libyan oil and gas...
    REALLY? ... The (6) million Libyans must nationalize their oil and gas companies, to save themselves from being invaded by the US and EU countries again, and PM Ali-Zeidan is a puppet for the western governments, and will let them do it..
    Do they miss Qaddafi now, with all the benefits they had? ...... REALLY
    In Response

    by: Taras Zaitsev from: USA
    March 10, 2014 8:48 AM
    It would be different if the oil was to be used by a sane Country, Not the Rabid Dog in charge of DPRK,
    Shoot out its prop or rudder end of story

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