The Shipowners Club urged operators to exercise caution when trading to Libya, due to an increased risk of vessel seizure and crew arrests as a result from an increase in the last years of illicit crude oil trade.
Since the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011 and the formation of a UN-recognised government in Libya, there has been an increase in illegal crude oil exports. To eradicate oil smuggling, the Libyan government has implemented strict measures over the last period: Vessels suspected of smuggling oil are seized by the Libyan navy, and the crew arrested. There are reports of crew waiting for years for their cases to be heard, whilst investigations are carried out.
In response, the Club cited the following best practices:
- Charterers for voyages to Libya should provide Owners with a guarantee that the cargo of oil has been purchased from the National Oil Corporation (NOC) in Libya, the NOC being the sole legitimate exporter of oil.
- Cargo interests should provide the vessel operator with a letter or document proving their authority to load oil from Libya.
Product tankers delivering oil to Libya should immediately sail from Libyan waters following discharge and once permission to depart from the port is received, as any deviation or delay can give rise to suspicion of oil smuggling.
- Upon leaving port, vessels should make for the Mediterranean and avoid following the Libyan coastline.
Status of Libya’s ports
Zuwarah, Farwah, Mellitah, Bouri, Zawiya, Tripoli, Al Khoms, Misrata, Es Sider, Ras Lanuf, Marsa El Brega, Zueitina, Benghazi, Tobruk, Marsa El Hariga