To remind, in mid-October, the National Oil Corporation’s (NOC) lifted its force majeure on the remaining two oil export terminals, Ras Lanuf and Es Sider, according to data by the Gard P&I Club and its correspondents in Libya.

Accordingly, the port situation in Libya as at 5 January 2021 is as follows:

  • Working: Farwah, Bouri, Melittah, Zawia, Tripoli, Al Khoms, Misurata, Es Sider, Ras Lanuf, Marsa El Brega, Zueitina and Marsa El Hariga, Benghazi and Tobruk
  • Closed: Sirte and Derna

According to our correspondents, all working ports are currently considered safe for ships and crew. The situation could, however, change at short notice and we recommend ship operators to warn their ships’ crews of the volatility of the situation, check with local port authorities as to the port’s status and carry out an assessment of the risks involved prior to entering or transiting Libyan waters,

...the Club noted.

In addition, ships sailing under Turkish flag, or otherwise linked to Turkish interests, should be extremely cautious when calling Libya’s Eastern ports or sailing in waters controlled by the Libyan National Army (LNA). This is due to a warning issued by the LNA in response to Turkey’s continued support for Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). LNA forces may inspect and/or detain any ship in these waters if they are believed to act on behalf of the GNA.

On 5 December, Libyan militia detained the Turkish-owned cargo ship MV Mabrooka off Derna and released it after reportedly paying a fine for entering Libyan waters without permission.

Finally, it is reminded that Western Libya remains the main area of human trafficking and migration from Libya.

 

Recommendations

Operators are advised to instruct their ships to continue to exercise caution when entering Libyan ports and waters and make sure they:

  • adhere to the international laws of trading, follow the official sea navigation routes to any of the working Libyan ports and avoid navigating near the coastal waters of Benghazi, Derna, and Sirte, including the militarized area south of 34 00’N;;
  • declare the intended voyage and type of cargo to be discharged/loaded to the local agent well in advance of arrival at any Libyan port to allow the agent sufficient time to notify the appropriate authorities; and
  • otherwise stay in close contact with local port authorities, ship’s agent, or Clubs' correspondents to obtain the most up to date and reliable information available at any given time.

Specifically for tankers trading to this region, the following is recommended:

  • Tankers loading from Libyan ports must undertake all pre-checks and compliance measures to ensure the cargo intended to be loaded has been authorized by the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC). The NOC holds the sole rights and control of all oil exports from the country.
  • Ship operators contracting vessels for voyages to Libya must request a certificate of origin from the charterers indicating that the shippers are indeed the NOC or an approved legal entity of the NOC.
  • Charterers should establish the authenticity of cargo interests and whether they can rightfully ship oil cargoes from Libya. The shippers should be able to provide a letter or document to prove that they are authorized by the NOC to ship the cargo.
  • Upon completion of cargo operations and receipt of port clearance, tankers delivering fuel oil to Libya should sail directly out of Libyan waters. Any deviations or delays may be deemed suspicious by local authorities.

We also emphasise the importance of paying close attention to the NAVAERA III warnings in force at any given time as military exercises are held in the Mediterranean Sea at regular intervals.

The EU military operation “IRINI” is ongoing in the Mediterranean Sea, to monitor Libya’s UN arms embargo and can carry out inspections of vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya suspected of carrying arms or related material to and from Libya in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2292 (2016).