Ousted Libyan PM flees country after tanker escapes rebel-held port

marinelink.com
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Former Libyan prime minister Ali Zeidan has fled to Europe after parliament voted him out of office on Tuesday over his failure to stop rebels exporting oil independently in a brazen challenge to the nation's fragile unity.

Zeidan was in Malta for two hours late on Tuesday on a refuelling stop before going to "another European country", Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told state-owned television TVM. But no European government had confirmed his arrival by late morning on Wednesday.

The standoff over control of oil exports threatens to deepen dangerous regional and tribal faultlines in Libya where rival militias with powerbases in the east and west back competing political factions in the transitional government.

Western powers fear the OPEC member state could slide into greater instability or even break apart.

Parliament acted after rebels holding three key ports in the east disobeyed government orders and loaded a North Korean-flagged tanker with oil as part of their drive for autonomy.

Although Zeidan had threatened to use force to stop the vessel leaving, the tanker managed to reach international waters, undermining Zeidan's credibility.

Malta's Muscat said he spoke briefly to Zeidan, who lived for many years in Germany before the 2011 uprising encouraged exiles like him to return to a North African country still struggling to shake off four decades of Gaddafi's one-man rule.

Libya's state prosecutor Abdel-Qader Radwan had issued a travel ban on Zeidan because he faces an investigation over alleged irregularities involving misuse of state funds.

The General National Congress (GNC), Libya's transitional assembly, agreed Defence Minister Abdallah al-Thinni would be acting prime minister for two weeks. Deputies plan to pick another replacement in the interim ahead of a parliamentary vote expected later this year.

Whoever is chosen will face the difficult task of trying to unite and lead a country deeply divided along tribal, regional and political lines, and where Islamists oppose more liberal leaders such as Zeidan.

"We are new to this political game. We are still learning," said Salah Elbakhoush, a Tripoli-based political analyst.

"But we hope that there will be an improvement after Zeidan left," he said.

NO ARMY, NO CREDIBILITY

Libya has no effective army, police or political institutions, and the government is in danger of running out of money because the rebel activity at oilfields and ports have dried up vital oil revenue. Oil output has fallen to a trickle.

Clashes broke out on Tuesday between rebel gunmen and pro-government forces in Sirte, a central coastal city dividing western and eastern Libya, where two of the country's major rival militias have their powerbases.

There was no still word on the whereabouts of the tanker which sparked Zeidan's ouster.

A military spokesman said on Tuesday that Libyan gunboats chased the tanker along Libya's eastern Mediterranean coast and opened fire, damaging it, and said Italian naval ships were helping move the tanker to a Libyan government-controlled port.

But Italy denied any of its vessels were in the area at the time and the reported firing incident could not be confirmed. The navy and defence ministry have not been available for comment since.

The rebels are made up of former oil security forces which defected with their leader Ibrahim Jathran, a former Gaddafi fighter, in the summer and took over the oil terminals to claim more autonomy for their self-declared Cyrenaica region.

 

Reporting by Chris Scicluna and Ulf Laessing

Maritime Reporter February 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Tanker Trends

Shipping Industry Faces Shake Up

As global shipping grapples with its worst downturn in 30 years, private equity firms are unwinding massive bets made on the sector in a move set to accelerate

Vessel Sales: February 2015

Vessel sales for February 2015  - (as of March 1) as prepared by Shipping Intelligence, Inc., New York.   Date Reported - Vessel Name - DWT - Built -  - (Age)

Oil Storage at Sea Stalls as Profit Play Fades

Traders are cutting plans to use tankers to store oil at sea as the price incentive recedes, the global head of oil at mining and commodities group Glencore's said on Tuesday.

Energy

Oil Storage at Sea Stalls as Profit Play Fades

Traders are cutting plans to use tankers to store oil at sea as the price incentive recedes, the global head of oil at mining and commodities group Glencore's said on Tuesday.

Ferguson Appoints Partner OPS-OES

Ferguson Group Singapore, a specialist in the provision of DNV 2.7-1 / EN12079 offshore containers, reefers, tanks, waste skips, baskets, accommodation and engineering

Former BP Boss Browne is DEA Chairman

Lord John Browne heads DEA's supervisory board * LetterOne co-owners Fridman, Khan also join * Unit changes name to DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG FRANKFURT, March 3 (Reuters) - DEA,

Maritime Security

Brazil Truck Strike Diminishes

Some truck drivers in Brazil continued blocking roads on Tuesday, slowing grains deliveries to southern ports, even as adherence to the strike diminished and a

ICS: EU Must Act in Mediterranean Crisis

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) says EU Member States must act urgently to prevent the loss of thousands more lives, as the humanitarian crisis in the

Ships to Declare Weapons at Egyptian Ports

All ships calling at Egyptian Red Sea ports or transiting the Suez Canal must declare any weapons onboard to Safaga Port Authority. As per the Egyptian Maritime Security Committee ruling,

Maritime Safety

Winter in US Northeast Takes a Toll on Ferries

With its black hull rumbling against a field of broken ice, the Warren Jr. slowly eased away from a dock in the Boston suburb of Hingham on Tuesday, aiming to clear

USCG Marine Safety Alert

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a marine safety alert today to remind all gas carrier owners and operators to ensure that all personnel follow approved Safety Management

USCG Marine Safety Alert

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a marine safety alert today to remind vessel owners and operators to establish effective fuel oil changeover procedures during efforts

Government Update

Hike in Service Tax at Indian Ports

The Indian Ministry of Finance has advised an increase in service tax and applicable at all ports. The effective date has not yet been announced. The rate

Manila Port Congestion Eased: Palace

Malacañang has declared that the congestion at the Port of Manila has been resolved, noting the various measures that the government and the private sector have implemented to address the problem.

Canadian Navy Delays Opening of Arctic Facility

Canada's military has again delayed the opening of a major new Arctic port, a sign the government is struggling to assert sovereignty over a remote resource-rich region.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Repair Ship Simulators Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1253 sec (8 req/sec)