By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 6 January 2015:
Both Greece and the former General National Congress (GNC) have condemned the 4 January attack . . .[restrict]by the Libyan National Army (LNA) on the Greek-owned tanker Araevo two miles from Derna’s seaport that killed two people.The LNA maintains claims the tanker aroused suspicion by not following the proper protocol for approaching the port.
The Greek government has said that it would continue to investigate into the case, “in spite of the volatility of the situation”, to make sure that those responsible for the attack were brought to justice and punished, and the families of the victims compensated. A Greek Foreign Ministry statement added that it was doing “everything humanly possible to facilitate the immediate repatriation of the Greek seaman’s remains”.
Greece was, it said, in contact with the UN Special Envoy to Libya Bernadino Leon and EU High Representative Federica Mogherini about the attack.
In a statement released Monday, the continuing GNC strongly condemned the airstrike, calling it a “cowardly act that constitutes a criminal offence”.
“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,” Mesmari told the BBC.
Mesmari went on to say that the state-run National Oil Corporation (NOC) had been warned that ships should not dock at the port without prior permission, as the LNA has been watching the port for entering foreign fighters coming to join the Islamic militants that have been controlling Derna for the past two years.
Both Libya Dawn and the House of Representatives (HoR) have appointed their own officials to run the NOC and the oil ministry, which has lead to confusion over who controls what and who has shared information with whom.
For its part, the NOC has said that the Araevo was chartered by the NOC to ship 13,000 metric tonnes of fuel oil from the port in Brega to the port in Derna to fuel the eastern town’s power and desalination plants.
“We are extremely concerned about the vulnerability of the facilities in the oil and gas sector during the current conflict. The NOC wishes emphasise its impartiality and professionalism as we continue to ensure that fuel is distributed to all areas in Libya,” the NOC said Sunday in a statement.
One Greek and one Romanian were killed during Sunday’s airstrike, which damaged the front of the tanker. Athens-based operator of the Araevo, Aegean Shipping Enterprises, has confirmed that none of the oil spilled into the sea. [/restrict]