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 August 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Tanker Trends

Algeria in Talks to Export Crude to Venezuela

Algeria is in talks to export crude oil to fellow OPEC member Venezuela, Algerian Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi said on Tuesday, confirming a Reuters report. Last week,

Joe Barton: Lift Oil Export Ban

A senior U.S. Congressman from Texas has come out in full support of the United States lifting the 40-year old ban on crude oil exports, putting him at odds with

Russia's Shipping Major Reports Strong 1H 2014

OAO Sovcomflot (SCF Group), Russia’s largest shipping company and a global leader in seaborne energy transportation and offshore services, has announced its financial

Energy

Shell CEO: US Should Export Oil, Embrace Global Markets

The head of energy company Royal Dutch Shell said on Tuesday that U.S. policymakers should lift the crude oil export ban because allowing the shipments would make global energy system more stable.

Bureau Veritas Diversifies with MatthewsDaniel Acquisition

Bureau Veritas announced today that it has acquired MatthewsDaniel Ltd, a global provider of loss adjusting and risk assessment services for the offshore industry.

Fogal Retires from Zentech After 57 Years in O&G

Robert “Bob” “Sonny” Fogal, Jr., one of the icons in the offshore oil and gas industry, has decided to retire from front-line work as Zentech’s Director of Business Development.

Maritime Security

Challenging the Myths of Pirate Violence

“In the last five years, pirates have killed at least 411 fishermen and wounded at least 1,000 more, suggested Mujibur Rahman, Chairman of Cox’s Bazar District

EU Warship Provides Seychelles CG Training

EU Naval Force Warship 'FGS Berlin' has conducted local maritime capacity building in the Seychelles informs EUCAP Nestor. Three Local Maritime Capacity Building

Ulrich Ganz of Bernhard Schulte Joins Tundra

Tundra Group is delighted to announce the addition of the former Senior Company Security Officer (CSO) of Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), Captain Ulrich Ganz,

Maritime Safety

DNV GL Approves Permanent Underwater Wet Welding Repairs

DNV GL and Subsea Global Solutions LLC. are proud to announce that they have completed an extensive joint research and development program, that will allow permanent

Tropical Storm Dolly Heads toward Mexico

NOAA's National Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm warning in effect from Cabo Rojo to Barra El Mezquital, Mexico as Tropical Storm Dolly approaches the country’s eastern coast.

Master Fined After Wind Farm Collision

The master of a wind farm support vessel has today been made to pay £3,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to breaches of maritime collision regulations.

Government Update

Shell CEO: US Should Export Oil, Embrace Global Markets

The head of energy company Royal Dutch Shell said on Tuesday that U.S. policymakers should lift the crude oil export ban because allowing the shipments would make global energy system more stable.

Polar Code Afoot

The IMO is on the verge of adopting the Polar Code, something that is important and long overdue. The International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations,

Algeria in Talks to Export Crude to Venezuela

Algeria is in talks to export crude oil to fellow OPEC member Venezuela, Algerian Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi said on Tuesday, confirming a Reuters report. Last week,

 
 
Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction 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: 0.1040 sec (10 req/sec)