Home > News > World
Tuesday March 11, 2014 MYT 8:12:13 PM
Tuesday March 11, 2014 MYT 8:13:22 PM
by ayman al-warfalli
ES SIDER, Libya (Reuters) - A North Korean-flagged tanker that loaded crude oil at a rebel-held port in eastern Libya is now in international waters, rebels at the harbour and a state oil company official said on Tuesday.
If confirmed, the news would be a huge embarrassment for the government after top officials including Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said late on Monday the navy had seized the tanker and would escort it to a harbour controlled by Tripoli.
The tanker had docked on Saturday at Es Sider, one of three ports controlled by rebels who want to sell oil independently to get a greater share of Libya's mineral wealth.
The Libyan navy and oil-related government officials contacted by Reuters declined to comment.
Mohammad Hitab, spokesman for the state-run al-Waha Oil Company operating the Es Sider port, said: "The tanker left and is now in international waters."
He said he did not know the destination of the tanker, which Libyan officials have said is owned by a Saudi company.
A Reuters reporter at the port said there was no sign of any tanker. Several rebels and port workers sympathising with them said the ship had left early in the morning, with boats escorting it into international waters.
"We escorted the tanker out of the port at 3 a.m.," said one rebel fighter at the harbour. He said he had been on board one of five armed rebel boats which, according to him, accompanied the tanker out of the port area.
The conflict over oil wealth is increasing fears that the OPEC member country may slide deeper into chaos or splinter as the government fails to rein in dozens of militias that helped oust Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but now defy state authority.
The rebels also demand autonomy for the east, which had been neglected under Gaddafi as he concentrated power and wealth in Tripoli as well as his home region of Sirte.
U.S. forces seize tanker carrying oil from Libya rebel port
Libya sees 'good intentions' in oil port talks; rebel split seen
Libya releases crew of tanker that loaded oil at rebel port
Libyan parliament sacks PM after tanker escapes rebel-held port
North Korea denies role in tanker loaded with crude at rebel-held Libya port
Modi takes tea, but no questions, in first press event as PM
China to shut factories during APEC to curb Beijing pollution - Xinhua
Two U.S. states to quarantine health workers returning from Ebola zones
Brazil presidential campaign ends in slugfest over corruption
No U.S. troop cuts without credible North Korea nuclear deal, says Kerry
Venezuela's Maduro slams Spain's Rajoy over jailed opponent
Organiser of "I Want to Touch a Dog" event apologises for furore caused by event
'Clever' Japan firm donates high-tech masks for Ebola fight
Sanctioned Beale to miss Wallabies' season-ending tour
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)