By Moutaz Ali.
Tripoli, 16 June 2014:
Following a meeting called by Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni yesterday to address problems at the capital’s . . .[restrict]petrol stations, the Cabinet ordered Brega Petroleum Marketing Company to repair the recent damages done to Tripoli’s stations.
Officials at Brega were upset by the Cabinet’s decision, explaining that the stations are actually owned by the petrol companies’ distributors. Therefore, Brega was not responsible for the maintenance of property that it does not own.
“The petrol stations have owners who should be responsible for the care and maintenance of their own properties,” said Fathi Darhubi, Brega’s media manager, to the Libya Herald.
“Our company’s job is rather to make petrol available for the distributors,” he stated.
The meeting also issued a decision to increase the level of security at the stations, with the assignment of members of the Ministry of Interior’s Special Forces, in cooperation with the Tripoli Security Directorate, to oversee protection at them.
“We have provided the security bodies with everything that they’ve asked for in order to secure petrol stations in the capital,” government spokesperson Ahmed Lamin told this newspaper.
Tripoli residents have settled into a pattern of panic buying anytime they hear of potential fuel shortages. Last December, the capital suffered a four-week crisis with queues at the pumps stretching up to two kilometres and hundreds of cars long. The sight of the queues caused an increase in panic, with even more people rushing to the stations to fill up their tanks.
Eventually, violence broke out. Some stations refused to fill up their reservoirs for fear of theft and vandalism, which reinforced the fear that fuel was not available. The government finally stepped in and sent forces to protect the stations and bring order to the crowds, but days passed before the situation quieted down. [/restrict]