By Libya Herald staff.
Tunis, 10 July, 2015:
Reports that two Greek oil tankers, the Minerva Alexandria and Trident Hope, have been seized at Ras . . .[restrict]Lanuf and their crews detained have been denied by their owners.
“It’s rubbish,” a spokesman for Athens-based Minerva Marine, which owns the Minerva Alexandra, told the Libya Herald. “She never called there.”
A spokesman for the owners of Trident Hope, New Shipping, also headquarter in Athens, said the same. “It’s not true. The tanker never went there.”
Both tankers had been heading to Ras Lanuf following the lifting of force majeure on 2 July by the National Oil Corporation in Tripoli and, according MartineTraffic, were due to arrive in Ras Lanuf yesterday. They turned round and sailed north when it was announced that the local Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) did not accept the Tripoli NOC’s declaration and that the terminal was still closed.
The Minerva Alexandra remains “not only outside Libya’s territorial waters but outside outside it exclusive economic zone and is awaiting instructions,” the Minerva Marine spokesman said. “When we have assurances that the port is safe, she will go there. We simply will not take the risk going somewhere that is not allowed.”
The Trident Hope was also outside Libya’s water, its owners said.
The government in Beida issued a statement on the situation yesterday, although it spoke of Sidra rather than Ras Lanouf. It said that, following reports that two tankers were heading to Sidra to lift oil, it had contacted the NOC which informed it that it not authorised any tankers to lift oil and it had not lifted the declaration of force majeure.
The NOC it was referring to is not the one in Tripoli but the alternative NOC structure it has set up in Benghazi chaired by Mabruk Busaif.
The government added that any attempt to “steal” Libya oil was an act of piracy and that it would prosecute those involve and even use force if necessary. The PFG was separately reported to have been instructed to arrest any tanker that tried to lift oil.
This was followed by media reports that both vessels had been impounded after arriving at Ras Lanouf and that the crews were being well treated but would not be released until the outcome of negotiations with the Libyan authorities.