Libyan forces surround N Korean-flagged oil tanker
Iran Press TV
Mon Mar 10, 2014 8:30AM GMT
Libyan military forces have surrounded a North Korean-flagged oil tanker carrying oil sold without Tripoli's permission in the east of Libya.
The Libyan Navy sent boats to Es Sider port to stop the ship, Morning Glory, from leaving with crude oil worth USD 36 million sold without government permission.
Culture Minister Amin al-Habib had warned on Sunday that the tanker would be "turned into a pile of metal" if it tried to leave with the oil.
"Now the tanker's movements are under complete control and nobody can move it," said al-Amin following the surrounding of the ship, adding, "The tanker will stay where it is."
"All efforts are being undertaken to stop and seize the tanker, if necessary by a (military) strike, if it does not follow orders," he added.
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan had also threatened a military strike on the 37,000-ton vessel.
Abd-Rabbo al-Barassi, the head of a self-declared rebel movement in Libya, had warned against harming the tanker, saying such a move would be a "declaration of war."
The ship started loading at the Es Sider port on Saturday despite earlier threats by the Libyan government to bomb the ship.
Tripoli has made efforts to end a wave of protests at oil ports and fields across the country that have drastically reduced its oil output.
Libya has been witnessing numerous clashes between government forces and rival militia groups, which played a key role in the 2011 popular uprising that toppled former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Since August 2013, the rebels have managed to seize three major Libyan ports.
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