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article imageOp-Ed: Canadian ship 'arrested' in Tobruk Libya for not having a permit

By Ken Hanly     Jul 31, 2016 in Business
Tobruk - The Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) government of Abdullah al-Thinni is now requiring that all ships have a permit from this government before they enter Libya's territorial waters.
The internationally-recognized government of Libya is the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). Earlier the HoR required that any oil tankers seeking to export oil should have a permit issued by the eastern-based National Oil Company rather than the one associated with the GNA based in Tripoli. The two rival oil companies were supposed to have been merged but this appears not to have happened as Al-Thinni demanded changes to the terms of the agreement.
The Libya Observer reports that a Canadian commercial ship heading from the western city of Misrata to Tobruk was arrested when it entered Libyan waters without permission from the HoR government. The arrest was made by the Libyan Combat Naval Brigade in Susah. The Brigade is linked to the HoR. The commander of the brigade, Mohammed Al-Madjoob said the ship was asked to stop but refused to do so. It was arrested after it docked in Tobruk. The commander said that the ship was stuffed with goods such as perfumes, sponges and clothes. Al-Madjoob said the ship would be held in custody but will be freed once the cargo is completely inspected.
Another incident happened earlier on July 7. A Comoro Island flagged ship, also entered LIbyan waters without approval. It was intercepted off Ras Hilal shores. Eleven crew members were arrested but later released.
The Libya Herald reports that the coast guard stopped an Antigua-flagged general cargo vessel off Ras Hilal. The coast guard thought that it could be carrying weapons to the Mujahideen Shura Council in Derna. It had set sail from Misrata. Derna has been under siege as part of Operation Volcano by General Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army even though the Council fighters were instrumental in driving the Islamic State out of Derna earlier this year. The LNA is blocking the city of Derna both by road and by sea.
Spokesperson for the Libya National Army(LPA), Colonel Ahmed Mismari, said that the ship, the Karina was released after a search showed that it was carrying no arms and was heading for Tobruk. He said that the crew was made up of Canadians and Filipinos. Perhaps this was the same ship as that in the earlier report that was arrested in Tobruk or they could be two different ships.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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