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 Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter June 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Tanker Trends

Chemical Tanker Runs Aground off Alaska

A 599-foot Norway flagged chemical tanker Champion Ebony ran aground near Nunivak Island, Alaska on June 24.   U.S. Coast Guard Sector Anchorage watchstanders

VL-exit?

Earlier this week spot returns in the VLCC market touched their lowest level since October 2014, with TCE earnings for Middle East/Japan (TD3) falling close to $20,

RS Rules Conform to the IMO Goal-based Standards

The rules of the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping are in conformity to the International Maritime Organization (IMO)goal-based standards (GBS), the IMO’s Maritime

Energy

Essar's Terminal at Kandla Port crosses 100 mi tonne throughput

The marine terminal of Vadinar Oil Terminal Ltd (VOTL), which is part of Essar Ports Ltd, has been the best performing terminal in the Kandla Port Trust (KPT) for two consecutive years.

VEB Guarantees $3 Bln of Yamal LNG Debt

Russian development bank VEB said on Friday it had provided a guarantee for $3 billion of debt to the Yamal liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, led by Russian gas firm Novatek.

US Oil Drillers Cut Rigs after 3 Weeks of Additions

U.S. oil drillers cut rigs this week for a 20th week this year after three weeks of additions, according to a closely followed report on Friday, as crude prices

Maritime Security

Chemical Tanker Runs Aground off Alaska

A 599-foot Norway flagged chemical tanker Champion Ebony ran aground near Nunivak Island, Alaska on June 24.   U.S. Coast Guard Sector Anchorage watchstanders

HMS Ambush Docks in Gibraltar

Navy nuclear submarine HMS Ambush yesterday steamed to Gibraltar – in a massive show of force against Spain.   The Spanish – emboldened by Britain’s Brexit vote

Indonesia Bans Ships for Philippines

The Indonesian Government has banned vessels flying Indonesias flag from sailing to the Philippines following the latest hostage incident.   According to a report in AP,

Maritime Safety

Day of Seafarer: ICS Highlights Seafarers Role in Migrant Rescues

Gerardo Borromeo, Vice Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) took the opportunity today to highlight the courage that is currently being displayed by seafarers,

USCG Investigates Unknown sheen in Lake Ontario

The Coast Guard is responding to a report of a sheen in Lake Ontario near the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Scriba, New York, approximately 10 miles northeast of Oswego, New York, Sunday.

Indonesia Bans Ships for Philippines

The Indonesian Government has banned vessels flying Indonesias flag from sailing to the Philippines following the latest hostage incident.   According to a report in AP,

Government Update

Morocco Sells 40% Stake in Port Operator in IPO

The Moroccan government raised 1.94 billion dirhams ($197 million) by selling a 40 percent stake in state-owned port operator Marsa Maroc in the country's first initial public offering this year,

Panama Opens Canal Extension Amid Risk, Cost Issues

Panama opened the long-delayed $5.4 billion expansion of its shipping canal amid cheering crowds on Sunday, despite looming economic uncertainty in the shipping

Indonesia Bans Ships for Philippines

The Indonesian Government has banned vessels flying Indonesias flag from sailing to the Philippines following the latest hostage incident.   According to a report in AP,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Standards Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Simulators Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.0749 sec (13 req/sec)