Libyan navy firing on tankers to stop ship 'smuggling oil'

By Curious

The shipping company Palmali denied all allegations about ship oil smuggling. The company's vessel that was attacked by the Libyan Navy had to remain in international waters. The ship was heading to a Libyan port controlled by protesters and was accused by the Libyan authorities for smuggling crude oil out of the country. The Istanbul-located shipping company Palmali had instructed the ship to stay in international waters. The ship was heading to the port of Es Sider, declared illegal by the Libyan government.

Libyan representatives have informed that their navy fired warning shots near the Palmali's vessel and warned the ship that was making an attempt to breach the blockade of eastern ports. The government is trying to stop shipping oil to world markets independently of Tripoli, such exports are declared illegal. The difficult political situation in the country (strikes and protests at Libyan oil ports) for the past months is leading to budget crisis. 

According to the shipping company Palmali, the Libyan officials had shown "disrespect" for the rule of international sea regulations about the incident when the Libyan Navy fired warning shots against their ship. Libyan official informed:

"We asked them to change course toward Misrata, but then we had to open fire when they refused and started to pull away, zigzagging,"

Palmali announced that a Libyan naval ship showed aggressive behavior although their ship had provided written confirmation to the Libyan National Oil Company (NOC) that has no intention to continue to the port of Es Sider. 

"The Libyan naval vessel continued to circle our vessel threateningly and even fired two shots in an attempt to push our vessel in the direction of Misurata (Misrata)". 

The captain of the Palmali's vessel took a course to Malta in order to avoid possible escalation of the conflict. The incident occurred in international waters. Libyan government is not capable of dealing with the 6-month blockade of the ports controlled by the protesters. 

In other hand, the self-declared pro-autonomy government in the east of Libya announced that all oil traders are welcome and will ensure the safety of tankers coming to Es Sider port.