Libya’s Coast Guard has intercepted a tanker suspected of involvement in fuel smuggling operations while in waters off the country’s western region heading for Malta, Platts reported. The 900-ton, 61-meter-long Captain Khayyam bunkering tanker with the flag of Sierra Leone was escorted to a naval base Tripoli, where it would be further investigated, OilPrice added.
The tanker’s crew, consisting of Turkish, Ukrainian, and Azeri nationals, was attempting to smuggle about 1m liters of Libyan oil out of the county, the Libyan Observer informed, without specifying the type of oil carried.
Since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, the authorities have attempted to intercept a number of vessels believed to be smuggling Libyan oil, but not all attempts have been successful.
Libya’s National Oil Company (NOC) has released a statement confirming that it had been warning the Libyan authorities to tackle oil smuggling operations for a long while and hopes they will take the “necessary measures to control and protect the Libyan borders” and stop the oil smuggling operations. Recently, NOC said it had become aware of several companies trying to charter ships to load illicit cargoes of Libyan oil at the Marsa el-Hariga export terminal.