Libya Says Its Forces Seize Disputed Oil Tanker

2014-03-11 00:39:31 | Al Muslim News
Libya Says Its Forces Seize Disputed Oil Tanker

 

Libyan officials said that government forces took over a North Korean-flagged oil tanker docked at a terminal held by a regional militia, where it had been attempting to load oil. The militia, however, denied the government had taken the ship. The standoff at al-Sidra, one of Libya's main oil export terminals, has been a major challenge to the authority of the central government. The port has been held for months by eastern fighters demanding more regional autonomy from Tripoli. The incident involving the tanker marks the easterners' first attempt to sell oil. At U.N. headquarters in New York, Libya's U.N. Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi told the U.N. Security Council that the international community must assist Libya in detaining the ship "so that we would not have to use force against it, because such a step might cause the pollution of vast areas of the waters and coast life of the Mediterranean which would require an international effort and huge resources to control." Dabbashi said that Libya's weak central authority and lack of "a deterrent force" has encouraged some "outlaws" to disrupt oil exporting ports, which has led to a 70 percent decline in Libya's income over the past seven months. Libya is currently using its sovereign wealth funds to run the government but if the current level of spending continues without austerity measures, he warned that "the country might face bankruptcy and the social order would be severely threatened and undermined." Adel al-Tarhouni of the Libyan Revolution Operation Room, a pro-government militia, said the ship's captain surrendered in the evening. It had been surrounded by a pro-government flotilla, reportedly including fishing boats armed with mortars and rocket launchers operated by militias, for two days. http://abcnews.go.com/.

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