Libyan navy seizes tanker, smuggling suspected


Libyan naval forces seized a Liberian-flagged oil tanker and detained its mainly Filipino crew on suspicion of smuggling oil off the Abu Kammash area, a naval spokesman said.

Libyan coast guards often seize tankers suspected of smuggling oil and gasoline off the coast that has become a haven for migrants and smugglers taking advantage of chaos following the 2011 fall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

In the latest case, the Levane tanker with its crew of 20 Philippinos was seized on Monday by a patrol, naval spokesman Ayoub Qassem said.
“The capacity of the tanker Levane is six million litres and it is a Greek-owned company tanker,” Qassim said, adding members of the crew were being questioned.

A UN-backed government of national accord has been trying to restore stability to the North African country since March 2016, but has struggled to impose control.

Seven years after the civil war that toppled Gaddafi, Libya has slipped into chaos and constant fighting between rivals vying for power. Its oil industry is often targeted by protests, shutdowns and armed violence.