Italy Mulls Deployments in Libyan Waters
Tripoli government invited Italy into its waters; some 600,000 boat migrants have come to Italy since 2014. Italy intends to deploy several ships in Libyan waters by the end of August to fight human trafficking and stem a flood of immigrants, a government source said on Thursday. A mission plan should be brought to the Cabinet for approval on Friday, and the necessary parliamentary vote to endorse it may be held next week, the source said. "The exact number of ships and sailors is still being worked out," said the source. If parliament approves, the mission might begin "by the end of August", he said. Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni met with military chiefs and ministers on Thursday to discuss "security, immigration and the Libyan situation", according to a statement.
EU to Continue Libyan Coast Guard Training after Attack on Migrants
The European Union will go ahead with training for the Libyan coast guard this week, days after a coast guard vessel allegedly attacked a boat carrying migrants, causing four of them to drown. The German humanitarian group Sea-Watch recovered the four bodies after an attack on Friday that its members say was carried out by a vessel with the markings of the Libyan coast guard. "The aim was to start the training this week, and this week it will start," the spokesman for the EU's Operation Sophia, Antonello De Renzis Sonnino, told Reuters. The bodies of the four migrants reached Palermo, Sicily, on Monday aboard the Norwegian rescue vessel Siem Pilot, which carried 1,100 rescued migrants and 13 other bodies.
Libyan Commander's Seizure of Oil Ports Risks New Conflict
Libyan forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar said on Monday they had tightened their control over four major oil ports, casting a Western-backed project to unite Libya and revive oil exports into deep uncertainty. Haftar's forces met little resistance as they seized the terminals at Ras Lanuf, Es Sider, Zueitina and Brega in an operation launched on Sunday, displacing a rival armed faction aligned with the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli. The advance is the latest power struggle over the OPEC nation's energy assets, after the 2011 fall of Muammar Gaddafi and the chaos that followed left the North African country splintered into competing rival armed factions.
EU Ships in Libyan Waters Would Undermine Tripoli Govt
The U.N.-backed government in Libya has not invited European ships into its territorial waters to help stop people smuggling because this could harm efforts to broaden support for the fledgling government, its envoy to Rome said on Tuesday. Ahmed Elmabrouk Safar, ambassador to Rome for Fayaz Seraj's Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), told reporters foreign warships within sight of its coast "would not help Libyan stability". "Inviting foreign military and naval forces in Libyan waters could be seen as an important security-led step which might cut down on the number of people who are crossing over the Mediterranean, but would it help in unifying the country in the current phase?" the envoy said.
Libya Requests Removal of Oil Tanker from U.N. Blacklist
Libya's mission to the United Nations has asked the Security Council to remove from a U.N. blacklist an Indian-flagged tanker that was recently prevented from shipping oil for the rival eastern Libyan government, Libya's U.N. envoy said on Thursday. The tanker Distya Ameya was blacklisted last month after the rival eastern government's parallel oil company attempted to use it to ship a cargo of 650,000 barrels of crude. The U.N. measure requires states to ban the ship from entering any port around the world. Libyan Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi told Reuters his mission had submitted an official request, though he did not know when the delisting might take effect. It will be up to the 15-nation council's Libya sanctions committee to make a decision.
Blacklisted Tanker Returns to Libya's Zawiya Port
A tanker that Libya's rival eastern government had been using to try to export oil in defiance of the Western-backed administration in Tripoli returned to the country on Saturday, after it was blacklisted by the United Nations, the state oil company said. The eastern government's parallel oil company had hoped to sell the cargo of 650,000 barrels, but the United Nations measure required states to ban it from entering any port. Two competing governments, one in Tripoli and one in the east, backed by armed factions have struggled for control of the North African OPEC state since 2014.
Libya Warns Tankers Away from Ras Lanuf Port
Libya's recognized government warned its security forces would seize any tankers approaching the Ras Lanuf terminal without permission, saying any attempt to make oil deals with the rival government in Tripoli would be "piracy". The warning over Ras Lanuf illustrates how the OPEC country's oil industry is caught up in a power struggle between the two rival governments and their armed forces, who have each appointed competing figures in the state oil company. The internationally recognised government and elected parliament has operated in the east since last year, when an armed faction called Libya Dawn took over the capital, set up its own government and took control of ministries in Tripoli.
Ships Still at Risk in Libya Ports
The restructuring of port facilities in Libya will only take place when a unity government is in place, says British maritime security company MAST. “UN sponsored unity government negotiations appear to have stalled for now, with the Tripoli government withdrawing from the talks,” said Gerry Northwood OBE, COO of MAST. “These talks will be partly driven by the common interest in fighting ISIL, but achieving the level of agreement required to form a unity government is unlikely in the near term,” Northwood added. Northwood noted that it has been reported that the National Oil Company (NOC) has lifted the force majeure declared in December 2014 at Ras Lanuf Oil Terminal on the Gulf of Sidre. Once operational the facility could increase Libya’s oil exports by up to 300,000 bpd.
Reopening Date of Libya Oil Ports Uncertain
It is too early to say when Libyan oil ports Es Sider and Ras Lanuf can reopen after a force loyal to a self-declared Tripoli government pulled out troops from frontlines near to the terminals, an oil official said on Monday. Security and technical checks needed to be conducted first, the official said, asking not to be named. Reporting by Feras Bosalum
Libya Reopens Oil Port After Strike
Libya reopened its oil port of Hariga on Tuesday, ending a strike by guards that had threatened to further slash exports as rival factions fight for control of the OPEC country. The threat to shut down Hariga underlined the fragility of oil shipments as two competing governments and their armed allies are locked in a scramble for territory and petroleum wealth. Hariga reopened shortly before the United Nations was expected to hold talks to prevent a wider conflict that Western governments fear will turn Libya into a failed state just across the Mediterranean from Europe. Libya shut most operations at the Hariga terminal near Egypt's border, the last functioning land oil export terminal, on Saturday after security guards prevented a tanker from docking in a protest over wage payments.
Libya's Hariga Oil Port Shut Due to Strike
Libya's eastern oil export port Hariga shut down because of a strike over unpaid salaries of security guards, closing the country's last functioning export port apart from two offshore fields. The closure will lower oil output to less than 300,000 barrels a day, a fraction of the 1.6 million Libya used to pump before the 2011 uprising toppling Muammar Gaddafi. The terminal near Tobruk, with a capacity of 120,000 b/d has by and large escaped disruption thanks to its easterly position.
Port Battle Underscores Possible Libya Break-Up
Armed factions deploying heavy weapons. Peace talks making little progress. Hidden behind a pile of sand, a tank points its gun towards Libya's biggest oil port on the other side of an invisible frontier that now divides the north African nation. Factions fighting for control of Libya and its oil wealth have moved columns of heavy weapons to this new front line running through the middle of the country, escalating a conflict that Western powers fear may lead to a national break-up four years after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.
Gov't Forces Seize Tanker at Rebel-held Port
Libyan government forces on Monday seized a tanker that had loaded crude at a port under the control of rebels who plan to sell oil independently of the Tripoli government, state-owned National Oil Corp (NOC) said. The North Korea-flagged shipped was being escorted to western Libya, NOC spokesman Mohammed El-Harari told Reuters, confirming Libyan media reports. Lawmaker Abdelwahab al-Qaim told Reuters: "The ship has been seized by government forces. There are no damages to the ship." A rebel spokesman had earlier denied they had lost control of the ship. (Reporting by Ulf Laessing and Feras Bosalum; Editing by Anthony Barker)
Libya's Ports Prepare to Load Oil Tankers
Libya's Zueitina oil port prepared on Monday to load crude on tankers after the government reached a deal with rebels to reopen four terminals that insurgents have occupied since summer. The federalist rebels agreed on Sunday to end gradually their eight-month blockade of Zueitina, Hariga, Ras Lanuf and Es Sider ports, which account for around 700,000 barrels per day of the OPEC country's crude exports. Brent crude fell $1.47 to a low of $105.25 per barrel before recovering to $105.72 by 1256 GMT, after news of an end to the port protest removed some of the supply worries affecting the oil market. "The port is ready to start exporting at the present time or later at any time…
Libya Containing Port Fire, Export Resumption in Question
Libya has made progress containing a fire at its largest oil port that has destroyed four days of the country's oil production but the damage to storage tanks will hamper efforts to resume exports, officials and industry insiders said. The fire at Es Sider, the country's main oil export terminal, has been blazing for a week and is a visible indication of the destructive violence that threatens to tear the country apart almost four years after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. The North African country is in the middle of a power struggle between two opposing governments -- the internationally recognised authorities in the east and rivals who have seized power in the capital -- that are vying for control of Africa's biggest oil reserves.
Air Strikes on Port of Misrata
Forces loyal to Libya's internationally recognised government on Saturday staged air strikes on the commercial port of Misrata, a western city allied to a group that holds the capital Tripoli, both sides said. Fighting was also reported near the country's biggest oil export port located in the east, part of a struggle between troops loyal to two competing governments and parliaments. The internationally recognised prime minister Abdullah al-Thinni has been forced to run a rump…
Libya Warplane Attacks Benghazi Bound Trawler
A Libyan warplane attacked a fishing trawler carrying gasoline to the port of Benghazi this week after the internationally recognised government suspected it of supplying Islamist militants, a military official said on Thursday. Libya's recognized government, which has been driven out of the capital, is locked in escalating conflit with a self-declared government of a faction known as Libya Dawn that seized Tripoli last summer. There were no details about the ownership or origin of the vessel which military official Mohamed Hejazi said was attacked on Tuesday off the coast of the eastern city of Benghazi, which has seen heavy fighting for months between pro-government forces and Islamist militants.
UPDATE: After Deal, Libya's Ports Prep to Load Oil Tankers
ZUEITINA PORT, Libya/TRIPOLI, April 7 - Libya's Zueitina oil port prepared on Monday to load crude into tankers after the government reached a deal with rebels to reopen four terminals that insurgents have occupied since the summer. The federalist rebels agreed on Sunday to end gradually their eight-month blockade of Zueitina, Hariga, Ras Lanuf and Es Sider ports, which account for around 700,000 barrels per day of the OPEC country's crude exports. Brent crude fell $1.47 to a low of $105.25 per barrel before recovering to $105.72 by 1256 GMT, after news of an end to the port protest removed some of the supply worries affecting the oil market.
Libya Forces Tanker Away from Supplying Rival Government
Libya's recognized government said it forced a tanker from delivering fuel to its rival administration, diverting the vessel to its own territory by threatening an air attack on it. The tanker Anwaar Afriqya was approaching the port of Misrata, but diverted to Tobruk, a port official at the latter said on Monday. "Our planes are forcing an oil tanker to sail to Tobruk after it had been on the way first to Misrata," Saqer al-Joroushi, air force commander for recognized Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni, told state news agency Lana. Libya's recognized government works from a headquarters in the east of the country since the summer when rival forces under the banner Libya Dawn took over the capital Tripoli and installed their own self-proclaimed government.
Libya Returns Fuel Tanker to Rival Government
Libya's recognized government has released a tanker forced to dock at a port under its control after originally banning it from delivering fuel to its rival administration, a port official said on Tuesday. War planes forced the tanker Anwaar Afriqya to sail to Tobruk after it had originally approached the port of Misrata, the air force commander for the recognized Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni said on Monday. Libya's recognized government has worked from a headquarters in the east of the country since the summer when rival forces under the banner Libya Dawn took over the capital Tripoli and installed their own self-proclaimed government.
Libya's Zueitina Oil Port Reopening Delayed
Technical problems have delayed the reopening of Libya's eastern Zueitina oil export terminal after the government reached a deal with rebels to end an eight-month blockade of the port, a minister said on Sunday. Two weeks ago, the Tripoli government reached an agreement with rebels in the restive east to end their occupation of four oil ports which had halted vital exports. Under the plan, the Hariga and Zueitina ports were due to open immediately while the larger Ras Lanuf and Es Sider terminals would resume oil exports within a month.
Libyan Oil Port Re-Opening Delayed
Technical problems have delayed the reopening of Libya's eastern Zueitina oil export terminal after the government reached a deal with rebels to end an eight-month blockade of the port, a minister said on Sunday. Two weeks ago, the Tripoli government reached an agreement with rebels in the restive east to end their occupation of four oil ports which had halted vital exports. Under the plan, the Hariga and Zueitina ports were due to open immediately while the larger Ras Lanuf and Es Sider terminals would resume oil exports within a month. But justice minister Salah al-Merghani said Hariga port located in Tobruk in the far east would be the only one to start operations due to technical problems at Zueitina.
New Fighting for Libyan Oil Ports
New clashes erupted on Tuesday between rival factions fighting for control of Libya's biggest oil ports Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, killing at least 10 people, the two sides said. The fighting came a day after the United Nations said it was seeking a ceasefire to pave the way for a new round of peace talks between factions operating two opposing governments, nearly four years after Muammar Gaddafi's overthrow. Libya's internationally-recognised government under Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni and the elected House of Representatives have been based in the east since a group called Libya Dawn seized Tripoli last summer, set up its own administration and reinstated the old parliament.