By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 28 January 2015:
In a surprise move the government has released a tankers forced into Tobruk by warplanes . . .[restrict]because it was suspected of smuggling arms to Misrata.
The 34,000 tonne Libyan flagged Anwaar Afriqiya had been slow steaming from Greek waters bound for Misrata, when government forces ordered it to divert to Tobruk.
The 4 January airstrike on a Greek-owned tanker unloading fuel in Derna harbour in defiance of a government warning that shipping in rebel waters could be attacked, may have persuaded the master of the Anwaar Afriqiya to comply and turn for Tobruk.
It was expected that the 24,000 tonnes of fuel aboard the 170 metre product tanker would be unloaded at Tobruk. Instead the authorities announced today that an inspection had found no weapons. The vessel was therefore free to continue its voyage to rebel-held territory
“The tanker was allowed to sail to Misrata after a search established that it had no weapons on board,” reported Reuters quoting an unnamed port official.
It remains unclear why the government should have allowed the fuel to reach Misrata, especially since the destruction wreaked by Misrata’s surprise attack on the Sidra export terminal tank farm last December. It is pure speculation that letting the fuel shipment through was an attempt by the government to encourage Misrata to continue to distance itself from the GNC and its antigovernment and stick with UNSMIL’s Geneva dialogue. [/restrict]