A Greek-operated oil tanker has been attacked by military jets in the Libyan port of Derna, killing two crew members, the Greek authorities have said.
The attack, on January 4, was carried out by the Libyan air force after the ship’s movements aroused suspicion, a Libyan military spokesman has said.
Derna has been controlled by Islamist militants for the past two years.
The Libyan military attacked the port several times last year in an attempt to weaken militant groups there.
The military spokesman, Colonel Ahmed Mesmari, said the tanker had been targeted because it had failed to submit to an inspection before entering the port.
He said the vessel was supposed to dock at a power plant in Derna but instead “took a different route”, entering a “military zone”.
“We asked the ship to stop, but instead it turned off all its lights and would not respond so we were obliged to strike it.
“We bombed it twice,” he said.
There were 26 crew members on board the ship, Araevo, including nationals from the Philippines, Greece and Romania.
Two were injured in the attack, in addition to those killed.
The Liberian-flagged tanker is operated by an Athens-based shipping company, Aegean Shipping Enterprises Company, and was carrying 12,600 tonnes of crude oil.
The Greek authorities said the ship was at anchor in the port when it came under attack.
Aegean Shipping said there was no leakage of oil and it was assessing the damage.
There has been no confirmation about the purpose of the ship’s visit to the militia-held area.
One report suggested the tanker was delivering fuel for power generators. Col. Ahmed Mesmari told Reuters the vessel had been bringing Islamist fighters to Derna.
“We had warned any ship not to dock at the port without prior permission,” he was quoted as saying.
Libya has been in chaos since its long-time leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, was overthrown with Western military help in 2011.
Numerous militias govern their own patches of territory, with successive governments struggling to exercise control.
The competition for power and resources has led to frequent fighting and battles to control facilities, including ports, linked to Libya’s oil industry.
The internationally recognized government is based in Tobruk, near the Egyptian border, having been expelled from the capital, Tripoli, by militias in 2014.
The US Navy SEALs have taken control of Morning Glory tanker full of oil loaded from a rebel-held port in Libya, the Pentagon says.
The raid by Navy SEALs took place in international waters south of Cyprus, said Rear Admiral John Kirby.
The Morning Glory’s evasion of a naval blockade at the eastern port of Sidra prompted Libya’s parliament to sack PM Ali Zeidan last week.
The oil terminal has been under the control of militia wanting autonomy for eastern Libya since July 2013.
The US Navy SEALs have taken control of Morning Glory tanker full of oil loaded from a rebel-held port in Libya
This was their first attempt to export oil from rebel-held areas. It is not clear where the tanker was headed.
Admiral John Kirby said the operation had been authorized by President Barack Obama and that no-one had been hurt.
“The Morning Glory is carrying a cargo of oil owned by the Libyan government National Oil Company. The ship and its cargo were illicitly obtained,” he said, adding that it would now be returned to a Libyan port.
Morning Glory was flagged in North Korea but officials in Pyongyang said it had been deregistered because of the incident.
The oil tanker was said to have been operated by an Egyptian company.
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Italian officials announced removal operation of more than 2,300 tons of fuel from the grounded Costa Concordia cruise ship has started.
The operation began on Sunday afternoon, nearly a month after the ship hit a reef and capsized off the island of Giglio.
The process had been delayed by both the search and rescue operation and bad weather, prompting fears of a leak into the protected waters off the island.
Seventeen people died when the ship capsized and 15 more are presumed dead.
Italian officials announced removal operation of more than 2,300 tons of fuel from the grounded Costa Concordia cruise ship has started
Captain Francesco Schettino has been accused in Italy of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship before all those aboard were evacuated.
Prosecutors in France have also launched an investigation, given that four French nationals died and two others are among the missing.
Francesco Schettino, denies wrongdoing.
Dutch salvage company Smit is conducting the operation to pump out the fuel, which is expected to take about four weeks to complete.
It will concentrate on the first of 15 tanks that are believed to hold around 84% of the fuel on board, the AP news agency quoted Italy’s civil protection department as saying.
Valves will be fixed to the tanks, allowing oil to be pumped through a hose on to a crane barge alongside the vessel. From there the oil will be transferred to a waiting oil tanker.
As oil is removed, water will be forced in via a second hose to fill the vacuum.