Gard: Tanker Crews in Risk of Being Arrested off Libya
Tanker operators were urged to carry out an assessment of the risks involved before engaging in voyages to Libyan waters, according to marine insurance provider Gard.
Oil smuggling activities in waters off the Western Libya coast continue to pose risks to vessels in these waters.
Over the last few years, nearly 300 crew members have been arrested and are being held in a Tripoli prison, awaiting trial for alleged oil smuggling, according to Gard’s Libyan correspondent.
The fall of the Gaddafi regime and the subsequent formation of a UN recognized Government in the country, there has been an increase in illegal trade of government oil assets on the black market.
“The Government is clamping down on this illegal trade and the vessels involved, knowingly or unknowingly, may have their crew arrested for later trials,” Gard said.
Namely, tankers suspected of calling certain loading areas in Western Libya risk being boarded by the Libyan Navy and the vessel and its crew could be detained for further investigations.
Gard added that the loading areas currently at risk are mostly located offshore between Zawiya and the Tunisian border.
“Once a vessel has been detained, investigations can take several years,” Gard said.