The Prime Minister of Libya, Ali Zeidan, sent a warning to all oil tankers which are trying to visit eastern terminals (controlled by the protesters). The vessels approaching eastern ports should be warned that could be sunk by the Libyan Navy. The warning comes after Libyan forces fired warning shots against an oil tanker managed by Istanbul-based shipping company Palmali.
The Prime Minister's notice comes after the pro-autonomy rebels stopped the country's crude production. The protesters continue their fight against the Tripoli's government. Rebels announced that all ships entering eastern ports will be protected by their forces and are trying to export oil production outside Libya. Their actions are declared illegal by the Libyan government.
"Any country or company or gang trying to send tankers to take oil from the seized ports without coordinating with the NOC, we will deal with them, even if we are forced to destroy or sink them,"
"We warn all countries there will be no leniency."
The Prime Minister is trying to overcome the pressure over the government and to gain confidence. Libya relies on oil export to evade budget crisis. The government is hoping to deal with the rebels who in other hand helped topple Muammar Gaddafi from power and claim that they have the right for more independence and to have access to the country's oil. Libyan eastern oil terminals are in the hands of the protesters for 6 months and the pro-autonomy groups sent an invitation to international firms to buy oil from their ports.
Yesterday, Ali Zeidan announced he will make some changes in his cabinet in order to dodge a parliamentary no-confidence voices against him. The Prime Minister wants more technocrats and independent experts to enter his cabinet.
Libyan officials accused a Palmali oil tanker for smuggling crude oil from eastern ports controlled by protesters. According to Libyan Navy the vessel was trying to reach Es Sider, but was intercepted in international waters and was warned with shots.