Libya-Bound Oil Tankers Facing Arrest

Panama-flagged oil tanker Trident Hope and Greece-flagged crude oil tanker Minerva Alexandra, which are bound for Libya’s Ras Lanuf port, are facing arrest, according to the Petroleum Facilities Guard, the Libyan Army unit tasked with the protection of Libya’s oil facilities.

Namely, the Guard said that it would impound any vessel that arrives there to load oil or any other product, the Libya Herald informed.

The tankers, owned by New Shipping Ltd and Minerva Marine respectively, are expected to arrive at the port today where they should collect oil cargo following the lifting of force majeure at Ras Lanuf oil terminal on July 2nd.

The country’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) said that following the ban lifting, Ras Lanuf would be ready to restart exporting soon, most probably in two days, but that levels of exports would depend upon available oil amounts and working oil fields, Reuters reported.

However, shipments from the terminal remain blocked under force majeure and attempting to load would result in the carrier being impounded, Ali al-Hasy, a spokesman for the Petroleum Facilities Guard, told Bloomberg.

The opposing argumentation arises from the ongoing dispute between Libya’s two governments, which have both set claims on the port.

As the ban was lifted by Tripoli-based NOC, which has been split to Tripoli and Beida administrations and the central region PFG, resorting to normal operations has not been recognized as official.

Libya has already resorted to violent measures against cargo vessels in its waters, including air strikes, as was the case in May, when a ship officer died and several crew members were injured after a Turkish general cargo ship was shelled and attacked from the air near the Libyan port city of Tobruk.

World Maritime News Staff

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