By Sami Zaptia.
Malta, 23 December 2018:
Libya’s state-owned General National Maritime Transport Company (GNMTC) has objected to the illegal boarding and detaining of its merchant ship Badr by Bulgarians.
The incident happened on Friday at the Bulgarian port of Burgas.
In a joint statement released on yesterday, the GNMTC and the Libyan Ports Authority said the Bulgarian act was a blatant violation of Libya’s properties and of the international laws.
The statement said that at Burgas on Friday, 21 December 2018, “armed men (some purporting to be Bulgarian border police) boarded MT BADR – a vessel within the fleet of the General National Maritime Transport Company of Libya.
The vessel’s captain and crew were then forced to immediately disembark the ship. No legal documentation, court order or warrant was provided to justify or support this action – the crew were simply ordered from the ship at gunpoint, under threat of violence.
The vessel’s communications/ AIS were then immediately cut, meaning that neither the vessel’s owners nor any legitimate authority can now contact or track the whereabouts of the ship.
This is not only a criminal act, but also a flagrant violation of all international laws. It is furthermore in direct contravention of a ruling of the Bulgarian Supreme Court, which ordered the vessel’s release in January of 2018.
This order was ignored by the Port Authority of Burgas, meaning that the vessel has since been improperly detained.
We, the rightful and legal owners of MT BADR, remain in constant contact with all relevant bodies and maritime organizations – both in Bulgaria and internationally – seeking an immediate halt to this corruption and criminal activity.