By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 12 March 2014:
The oil tanker that loaded a shipment of illegal crude at Sidra has . . .[restrict]been spotted off the coast of Egypt after escaping from the Libyan Navy.
Culture Minister Habib Al-Amin said that the ship managed to evade Navy vessels stationed off the coast of Sidra during bad weather, according to Libyan news agency LANA. It was escorted into international waters by four tug boats, he said.
He confirmed that the Navy shot the tanker, Morning Glory, resulting in a fire on board, but said it did not open fire again, following a request from a US vessel in the area. There were concerns, he said, that if hit again, the tanker might explode and cause an environmental disaster.
The US embassy in Tripoli today said it had no comment “on rumours”.
Amin said the Navy thought the Captain would stop Morning Glory after the fire broke out. However, this was quickly brought under control and the tanker continued sailing.
The vessel had been spotted today off the coast of Egypt near the town of Mersa Matruh, Amin said. He added that the government had asked the Egyptian authorities to help ensure the tanker was returned to Libya.
There are now reports that another oil tanker, sailing under the flag of Venezuela, is moored off the coast of Libya. A source close to Ibrahim Jadhran, who has controlled three eastern oil ports since August last year, confirmed to the Libya Herald that the vessel was expected to dock at Sidra port. [/restrict]