Another tanker seized in Libya amid gas smuggling claims

Another international tanker got caught up in a dispute between the two opposing governments in Libya over alleged oil and gas smuggling.

A Sierra-Leone flagged oil tanker, identified as the Captain Khayyam, was seized by the Libyan authorities under suspicion of illegally entering Libyan waters with the aim of smuggling gasoline, Reuters reports citing local authorities.

As informed, the tanker, carrying nine crew members on board, was seized by the coast guard of Libya’s self-declared government on Friday, February 12th, northwest of Zuwarah city.

According to a navy spokesman, Ayoub Qassem, the tanker had 1.6 million liters of gasoline on board.

Based on the ship’s latest AIS data, the tanker arrived in Tripoli, Libya and remains there on February 15th.

The seizure comes on the back of an arrest of a Russian-flagged tanker in September, 2015 as the ship and its crew were suspected of trying to smuggle oil from the port of Zuwarah. The tanker in question has been identified as the 4,949 DWT Mekhanik Chebotaryov, built in 1975.

Some of the crew have been released, while other remain in the country and face trial.

The oil-rich country is struggling with two governments, an internationally-recognized government led by Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni and a self-proclaimed rival government controlling Libya’s capital.  

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