LIBYA: DANGER OF CREW BEING HELD IF SHIPS SUSPECTED OF OIL SMUGGLING
The International Group of P&I Clubs has warned of the risk of crew being held in prison in Libya waiting to be put on trial for alleged oil smuggling. The government of Libya is extremely anxious to eliminate oil smuggling and any tankers suspected of smuggling are seized by the Libyan navy and the crew held in prison, often waiting years for their cases to be heard. There are reports of almost 300 crew currently held in a Tripoli prison.
Members are urged to be very careful if trading in the area and the following advice has been offered:
• Make sure that a charterer guarantees that any oil cargo has been purchased through the National Oil Company of Libya which is the only body able to control oil exports.
• Make sure that cargo interests provide a document to prove their right to load oil from Libya.
• Once ships have finished cargo operations and have been cleared to depart they should leave Libyan waters without deviation or delay to avoid any suspicion that the master may be waiting to load illegal cargo. The ship should not follow the coastline but should sail straight out to the Mediterranean.