Saturday, March 8, 2014

Libya flashpoint March 8 , 2014 .......Libya rebels claim to export oil outside of the direction and control of the government of Libya , to an oil tanker flying under the flag of North Korea to boot ! ! Rebels who seized oil ports in eastern Libya say they have loaded oil on to a North Korean-flagged tanker. The Morning Glory docked at Sidra port earlier on Saturday, after a failed attempt to dock on Tuesday. "We started exporting oil. This is our first shipment," a rebel spokesman said. The rebels demand more autonomy - and oil wealth - for Libya's east. Libyan officials confirmed to the BBC the Morning Glory had docked. They said the rebel move was an "act of piracy". ...... Sunday key GNC day as it votes on adopting new Road Map recommended by “February” Committee --Tomorrow’s GNC agenda as provided by the GNC is as follows: 1st Item: Adoption of the road map and vote on direct or indirect presidential elections. 2nd Item: Hearing to a mutual report from the Audit Bureau and Administrative Control Authority. 3rd Item: Voting directly to withdraw confidence from the government and name a new Prime Minister. 4th Item: Voting on amendments to the constitutional declaration to ensure rights of ethnic groups in the Constituent Body for Drafting Committee.

Former Prime Minister Ali Zeidan did not run away from Libya – Thinni

By Sami Zaptia.
 during a recent visit to assess members of the Libyan National Army undergoing training at an Italian military base in the town of Cassino, 130km south-east of the capital Rome. Handout images attached for editorial purposes, note that this is a multi-recipient distribution list to a variety of outlets with different usage and uptake. All images dated and captioned accordingly, correct information embedded in file info. Please use mandatory credit of: WAC PHOTO / STUART PRICE.
Abdullah Thinni during a recent visit to Italy to assess members of the Libyan National Army undergoing training at  Cassino, 130 km south-east of Rome.
(Photo: WAC/Stuart Price)
Tripoli, 12 March 2014:
Asked by the media at today’s inaugural press conference for caretaker Prime Minister Abdullah Thinni why was it that his predecessor had run away to Europe in view of a travel ban issued against him, Thinni said that in his view he had not run away.
Thinni said that it was perfectly legitimate and within former Prime Minister Ali Zeidan’s right to travel, as guaranteed by Libya’s Transitional Constitutional Declaration.
The caretaker Prime Minister said that if former Premier Ali Zeidan had left the country and if there was an arrest warrant against him, he could always return to Libya.
Former Prime Minister Ali Zeidan had been reported as having left Libya last night after the GNC had voted him out of office.
His departure was interpreted by some as hasty and seen as having flouted a travel ban imposed by the Attorney General Abdel  Qadar Radwan. The travel ban, directed to the head of the Passports Agency, was issued  last night. It said Zeidan was to be prevented from leaving the country until  ongoing investigations into financial irregularities had been completed.
The investigations cited by the Attorney General as prompting the travel ban  appear to relate to allegations that money was offered to armed groups  controlling three oil export terminals in the east of the country to end their  blockades.
Ibrahim Jadhran, the self-styled leader of the federalists occupying  the ports, accused GNC Energy Committee head Naji Mukhtar and the government of  trying to bribe him with LD 30 million to end the blockade in September last  year.
Zeidan denied any involvement but Mukhtar admitted giving a number of cheques  to one of Jadhran’s brothers Salem. He said that these could not be considered  bribery because the accounts held insufficient funds for them to be honoured.  One cheque for LD2.5 million was, however, reportedly cashed.

Former Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan (file image)Malta's prime minister said Ali Zeidan's plane had flown to "another European country"

Libya's former Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has left the country despite a travel ban, reports say.
Malta's prime minister said he had spoken to Mr Zeidan on Tuesday while his plane was refuelled on the island.
Prosecutors in Tripoli said he had been banned from leaving because of a probe into alleged financial irregularities.
Mr Zeidan was dismissed by parliament on Tuesday after a tanker laden with oil from a rebel-held port was said to have broken through a naval blockade.
Libya has been plagued by instability since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, with the government struggling to assert its authority over the armed groups and tribesman who helped topple him.
'Making payments'
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told state-owned TVM television that Mr Zeidan had spent two hours in the country late on Tuesday.
His plane then left for "another European country", Mr Muscat added.
North Korean-flagged oil tanker at SidraThe North Korean-flagged tanker docked at Sidra without the Libyan government's permission
Shortly after Mr Zeidan lost the confidence motion in the General National Congress (GNC), Libya's Prosecutor General Ridwan Jumua Abdul Qadir had instructed the head of the passport agency to add the former prime minister's name to a watch-list and to "prevent him from travel until he was brought to questioning", the Libyan WAL news agency reported.
Mr Zeidan was wanted in connection with alleged payments made to an armed group that had been besieging oil fields, it added.
Map showing the region of CyrenaicaLibyan regions had federal powers from 1951 to 1963
MPs voted to dismiss Mr Zeidan and replace him with Defence Minister Abdullah al-Thinni on Tuesday after they were informed that the North Korean-flagged tanker, Morning Glory, had escaped from the Sidra oil terminal with at least 234,000 barrels of crude.
A member of the GNC's energy committee said bad weather had stopped Libyan navy ships from following the tanker out to sea.
Mr Zeidan had earlier insisted that the Libyan authorities had "complete control" of the tanker.
The Morning Glory was the first vessel to have loaded oil from a rebel-held port since a separatist revolt against the central government in Tripoli erupted in July.
Armed separatists have occupied three major eastern ports since August.
They are seeking a greater share of the country's oil revenues, as well as autonomy for the historic eastern region of Cyrenaica.
The GNC has ordered a special force to be deployed to "liberate" all rebel-held oil terminals. The operation is due to start within a week.
Libya's government has tried to curb protests at oil fields and ports, which have seen vital oil revenues plummet.

Congress sacks Zeidan: elections for new legislature “in July”

By Libya Herald staff.
Ali Zeidan  (Photo: Sami Zaptia).
Ali Zeidan (Photo: Sami Zaptia)
Tripoli, 11 March 2014:
Congress has passed a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, voting at the same time in favour of the February Committee’s roadmap to hold elections to a new parliament in July. Congress has appointed Defence Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni as caretaker Prime Minister for a period of two weeks while a replacement is found.
However, questions have been raised in Congress and elsewhere over the legality of the vote.
Independent Benghazi Congressman Alaeddin Al-Mgariaf told the Libya Herald that Congress had passed the motion removing Zeidan with 124 votes in favour out of 138, a margin of just 14. It is said to be a vote purely against Zeidan as prime minister, not against the rest of the government.
Mgariaf also said that in the same vote Congress had approved the roadmap put forward by the February Committee replacing itself in elections to a new legislature. The one change to the committee’s  proposals was that the appointment of a state president would be left up to the new legislature to decide whether those he would be elected by pubic election or appointed by itself.  
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies are said to be opposed to direct elections, supposedly because they feared they could not win.
Mgariaf said that Congress had committed itself to handing over a new law to the Higher National Elections Commission within one month to enact parliamentary elections which he envisaged taking place in July.
“This is the best thing for Libyans,” he said. “This is a very good choice. We were getting to the point where the country is on the point of collapse”. Libya needed a new leader, he said, todeal with the crisis.
Congressional spokesman Omar Hemidan, confirmed that Defence Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni would remain in office for just two weeks while a replacement was sought.
Union for the Homeland Congressman Abdullah El-Kabier said while voting was taking place that Congress members had been “saddened” by Zeidan’s handling of the recent illegal oil shipment from blockaded eastern oil terminals and this was the principle reason the vote was possible.
Some Congress members dispute the legality of the vote sacking Zeidan. Speaking on the television channel Libya Al-Ahrar, National Forces Alliance Congresswoman for Sabratha and Zuara Asmaa Sarbia said it should have taken place in public. She insisted that the decision of no confidence in Zeidan and the roadmap should not have been considered in the same vote and that it was not the job of Congress to amend the roadmap.
The choice of Thinni as acting Prime Minister has also provoked comment. “This parliamentary vote is a coup by another name,” one western defence expert resident in Libya said, echoing comments made on social media networks following the announcement.
Thinni, however, has proved himself an effective conciliator. In December, he managed to mediate an end to fighting between Tebu and Zwai militias at the Sarir oilfield which resulted in water shortages from Sirte to Benghazi because power line were brought down in the clashes and pumps on the Man-=Made River could not work.
In January, he mediated a solution to a blockade at the Sharara oilfield by Tuareg protestors demanding National ID cards and the removal of Obari’s unelected local council, with assurances that the government would address their demands. However, when nothing happened, the protestors last month renewed the blockade. Al-Thanni was back at the oilfield on 2 March to meet re-negotiate with the protestors which led to them deciding on Saturday to once more suspend their action pending a news government response to their demands.
Thinni’s son, Muhammed, was kidnapped in September and held for four months. He was released in January. Despite his family’s anguish, the minister continued with a full programme of official duties throughout the period.

( Guess we shall see who really owned that oil in a bit... Assuming this latest Libyan tale is true !  )

North Korean Tanker Burning In Libya After Navy Opens Fire

Tyler Durden's picture

The Libyan defense minister took over duties as prime minister this morning as the Libyan parliament voted "no confidence" in the current prime minister after a North-Korea-flagged tanker broke the "blockade" from a rebel-held port. The ouster of the PM appears to have bolstered confidence in the anti-rebel oil-stealing that we discussed yesterday, and resulted in
The oil tanker - The Morning Glory - had at least 234,000 barrels of oil aboard but is now "under complete control" of Libyan government authorities. However, as Bloomberg reports, the North Korean tanker is said to be on fire after being hit by a missile.
It's been a busy morning for Libya:
The rebels started it..
And for a while they were right...
Which led to:

Libya's parliament has dismissed PM Ali Zeidan after a tanker laden with oil from a rebel-held port reportedly broke through a naval blockade.

MPs called a vote of confidence in Mr Zeidan amid reports that the North Korean-flagged ship had escaped to sea.

Defence Minister Abdullah al-Thinni was named interim prime minister.

Earlier, Libyan officials had said they had "complete control" of the tanker as it tried to leave Sidra port. However, rebel fighters rejected the assertion.

Separatist militants have occupied three major eastern ports since August.

They are seeking a greater share of the country's oil revenues, as well as autonomy for eastern Libya.

The oil tanker - named Morning Glory - was reported to have taken on at least 234,000 barrels of crude oil at the Sidra terminal.

It was the first vessel to have loaded oil from a rebel-held port since the separatist revolt against the authorities in Tripoli erupted in July.
which resulted in:
The North Korean-flagged oil tanker that left Libya this morning after loading an illegal shipment of oil is said to be on fire after being hit by a missile.

Part of the ship is burning because it was shot at,” General National Congress (GNC) member Abdullah El-Kabier told the Libya Herald. He was unable to give more details or identify who had fired on the tanker.
We suspect Mr. Kim will be displeased (or is this a way to distract from Ukraine and get the North Koreans to rattle some sabres?)

Oil tanker allegedly “on fire” in international waters

By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 11 March 2014:
Confusion surrounds the fate of the North Korean-flagged oil tanker that left Libya this morning after loading an illegal shipment of oil.  It is said to be on fire after being hit by a missile. Another report says that it was boarded by the Italian navy.  However, Italian officials have denied this.
“Part of the ship is burning because it was shot at,” General National Congress (GNC) member Abdullah El-Kabier told the Libya Herald. He was unable to give more details or identify who had fired on the tanker.
The fire has been confirmed by a senior Libyan navy official but is denied by shipping sources.
El-Kabier said that the GNC was so upset with how the oil tanker crisis had been handled that they decided today to hold yet another vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Ali Zeidan.
Zeidan had announced that the vessel would be bombed if it did not comply with Navy orders, sparking international concern. The Air Force later refused to follow this instruction.
The Morning Glory docked at Sidra oil export terminal in the east of the country on Saturday morning. Sidra is one three oil ports that have been under the control of federalists under the control of Inbrahim Jadhran.
The vessel allegedly loaded 230,000 barrels of oil and attempted to leave Sidra last night. It was allegedly intercepted by military forces last night and was being. However, in the early hours of this morning, it appears to have managed to escape from its escort and sailed into international waters.

Libyan assembly ousts PM over escaped tanker

Ali Zeidan loses confidence vote called after oil tanker from rebel-held port breaks through naval blockade.

Last updated: 11 Mar 2014 22:57
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The Libyan National Congress has voted on no-confidence against Prime Minister Ali Zeidan and designated the defence minister as acting prime minister.
Parliamentarians voted to oust Zeidan as anger grew with the government's failure to stop eastern rebels from independently exporting oil.
The vote on Tuesday came hours after an oil tanker carrying rebel oil escaped warships and left the country.
MP Suleiman al-Zubi told the AFP news agency that Defence Minister Abdullah al-Thinni was named interim premier for the two weeks the assembly now has to agree on a permanent replacement.
"The Congress voted to withdraw its confidence in the prime minister by 124 votes," al-Zubi told AFP.
Parliament will support Thinni and not obstruct his work, its head Nuri Ali Abu Sahmain told the assembly during a session broadcast by state television after the caretaker prime minister took his oath.
Armed militias
Previous attempts to bring down Zeidan had failed to win the required majority of 120 of the assembly's 194 members.
Zeidan's government had been repeatedly criticised for its failure to disarm militias which have carved out their own fiefdoms since the NATO-backed uprising that ended the 42-year rule of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
The prime minister was himself briefly abducted by an armed group in the heart of the capital, Tripoli, last October.
Rebels demanding a bigger share of oil revenue and political autonomy in the east seized three ports last summer and partly control a fourth.
The central government had threatened armed action, even an air strike, to prevent the North Korean-flagged tanker, which docked in al-Sidra port on Saturday, from getting away with its cargo.
The vessel was reported to have taken on at least 234,000 barrels of crude. It was intercepted by the navy on Monday, but managed to slip into international waters a day later.
Libya's navy opened fire on the tanker and Italian vessels were helping to secure the now-stationary vessel on Tuesday, a military spokesman said.
The ship had sailed further east from al-Sidra port before being attacked, Walid al-Tarhouni, spokesman for Libya's oil security force, told al-Nabaa television. He said the ship had initially escaped in bad weather.
There were unconfirmed reports that the ship was on fire after being hit by a missile.
Zeidan was elected in 2012 as the first prime minister after the overthrow and slaying of Gaddafi.
He has had the backing of the liberal-leaning National Forces Alliance against a bloc led by the Muslim Brotherhood, although parliament is divided as much on regional lines as ideological ones.

Libyan Navy Captures Rebel Oil Tanker

Parliament Orders Creation of New Military Force to Attack Ports

by Jason Ditz, March 10, 2014
The stand-off at the Es-Sidra port is over, and Libya’s Navy has captured the North Korea-flagged oil tanker Morning Glory, and has taken it to Misrata, a city held by a harsh, pro-government militia.
The ship docked at a rebel-held oil port and loaded some $36 million in oil. The Libyan military dubbed the move “piracy” and initially ordered the Air Force to attack the ship, though they refused.
Though North Korea-flagged, the ship is owned by Sea Pride Shipping, a United Arab Emirates-based company. The company confirmed ownership, but insists that it had lost contact with the operators and had no control over them when they docked in Libya.
Libya is traditionally a massive producer of oil for Europe, but since the NATO-imposed regime change production has dwindled to a tiny fraction of even its Gadhafi-era lows. With different cities disputing revenue-sharing, several different factions have seized valuable oil ports.
Though the Libyan military has been unable to wrest control over the ports back, parliament has ordered the creation of an entire separate branch of military forces just to attack ports, in the hopes that more specialized fighters can oust the rebels.

North Korean-flagged tanker still in port – NOC

By Tom Westcott.
Tripoli, 10 March 2014:
The North Korean-flagged tanker that has illegally loaded a shipment of crude from Es-sider oil export terminal is still berthed in the port, according to the National Oil Company (NOC).
“The ship has not left. It is still at the port,” NOC spokesperson Mohamed Al-Harrari told the Libya Herald.
He said that NOC was receiving constant updates on the status of the tanker. Reports were now also being received from vessels under control of military forces that yesterday surrounded the port, he added.
The tanker, named Morning Glory, docked at Es-sider early Saturday morning and loading operations started in the evening. Well-placed sources said that the captain of the ship had wanted to leave without the oil but that he and the crew were threatened by those controlling the port.
Shipping sources claimed that Morning Glory stopped loading at around 60 percent capacity, having taken on the equivalent of some 180,000 barrels of oil. Harrari was unable to confirm how much crude the tanker had loaded.
Yesterday four vessels under the control of the Navy were stationed outside Es-sider harbour, ready to apprehend the vessel if it tried to set sail.
At least 13 vessels from Misrata were also reported to be heading to Es-sider yesterday. These set sail in the afternoon after apparently being modified and armed with anti-aircraft guns. These, Misratan sources said, were not for use against Morning Glory but for protection if boats operating under Ibrahim Jadhran opened fire.
The federalists who have control of Es-sider port have also reportedly armed tugboats with ‘technicals’ – improvised four wheel drive vehicles fitted with anti-aircraft guns – to provide ‘safe’ escort for the tanker into international waters.

Congress recalls General Chief of Staff over 

illegal oil shipment

By Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 9 March 2014:
Members of the General National Congress (GNC) have asked for General Chief of Staff Jadallah Al-Obaidi to be recalled to Tripoli over his failure to take action against the North Korean-flagged tanker Morning Glory which illegally loaded oil from Es-Sider yesterday.
A number of members at this morning’s GNC sitting called for Obaidi’s dismissal saying he had not taken sufficient steps to protect national sovereignty.
GNC spokesman Omar Hemidan told the Libyan news agency LANA that there would be resolute action from authorities to restore control of the ports. “Congress will not stand idle,” he was quoted as saying. “There will be serious action taken to ensure no further aggression against Libyan sovereignty.”
He added that the head of Congress, Nuri Abu Shamain, had opened the morning sitting stating that all possible efforts were being made to ensure the tanker did not leave Libyan waters and was not able to sell the smuggled oil. Abu Sahmain said what had happened was an affront to the dignity of all Libyans.
At the same time, the Attorney General has prepared an arrest warrant for the crew aboard the North Korean-flagged vessel and anyone involved in the incident. The warrant also stipulated the seizure of the tanker, in accordance with the law.
Independent Congressman for Zawia Ahmed Yaqoub told the Libya Herald that Obaidi had not appeared in front of Congress today because he was out of Tripoli.
He said that Obaidi would be quizzed at the next GNC sitting over his delay at taking action against the tanker. Yaqoub added that Congress had tried repeatedly to contact the heads of the Air Force and the Navy but with no response.
Benghazi Congressman and member of the Oil and Energy Committee Ali Refae Zubi said action was being planned over the blockade at the eastern ports but measures could not be divulged for security reasons.
A Ministry of Defence official said yesterday that the Air Force did not want to attack the terminal because it was felt this would mean intervening in a political issue and could lead to the deaths of civilians. The source also said there were concerns about the potential environmental impact of an oil spill in the Mediterranean if the tanker was hit.




Libyan separatists loaded oil onto a North Korean tanker for a second consecutive day on Sunday, ignoring the central government's threats of military action, an industry official said.

The separatists are former rebels who have turned against the interim authorities in the restive North African country after toppling veteran dictator Moamer Kadhafi in the 2011 uprising.

Since July separatists have been blockading oil terminals in eastern Libya that they had been entrusted with guarding over demands for autonomy in eastern regions and a share in lucrative oil revenues.

On Saturday they began loading oil onto the Panamanian-flagged "Morning Glory" tanker docked at Al-Sidra terminal.

Prime Minister Ali Zeidan ordered them to stop or else the tanker would be bombed, while Oil Minister Omar Shakmak denounced the separatists for an "act of piracy".

On Sunday the defence ministry said orders for military action had been issued to the armed forces, the official Lana news agency reported.

The ministry ordered the chief of staff, the navy and the air force "to deal with the tanker that entered Libyan waters without a prior permit from the legitimate authorities," Lana said.

The report came as National Oil Corporation spokesman Mohamed al-Hariri said that the Morning Glory was "still inside the harbour and loading is underway".

Hariri said he expected the operation to continue until the end of Sunday, noting that the ship could take up to 350,000 barrels of crude oil.

But he was unable to give details on any plans by the authorities to stop the tanker from leaving the port.

- Plans to intercept ship -

However, military sources said plans were in place to intercept the tanker before it leaves Libya's territorial waters.

Prime Minister Zeidan told a news conference late Saturday that the attorney general had given the order for the ship to be stopped.

"All parties must respect Libyan sovereignty. If the ship does not comply, it will be bombed," he said.

Zeidan said the authorities had told the vessel's captain to leave Libya's waters, but added that armed gunmen on board were preventing him from setting sail.

A spokesman for the self-proclaimed government of Cyrenaica in the east, the political wing of the separatists, had said Saturday that oil exports from Al-Sidra had begun.

"We are not defying the government or the Congress (parliament). But we are insisting on our rights," said Rabbo al-Barassi, who heads the Cyrenaica executive bureau formed in August.

The crisis erupted in July, when security guards at key terminals shut them down, accusing the authorities of corruption and demanding a more equitable distribution of oil revenues.

The situation has become more complicated as self-rule activists have insisted on the right to export.

Oil is a key revenue Libya and following the blockade of terminals production plunged to about 250,000 barrels per day from 1.5 million barrels.

Air Force refuses to bomb oil tanker

By Tom Westcott.
Tripoli, 8 March 2014:
Members of the Libyan Air Force have apparently refused to obey orders to bomb an oil tanker that has been loading oil illegally from the Es-sider oil export terminal.
A Ministry of Defence official in Tripoli, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Libya Herald that the Air Force did not want to attack the terminal for a number of reasons.
“There is a strong feeling among members of the Air Force that it should not be used to solve what is essentially a political problem, especially as civilians could be injured or killed,” he said.
There were also deep concerns about the potential environmental impact of an oil spill on the Mediterranean Sea and the Libyan coastline if the tanker was hit, he said.
It is thought that the Air Force’s attitude is one of the “logistical problems” cited by General National Congress (GNC) member Suliman Gajam this afternoon as delaying military action against the vessel.
Despite Zeidan’s threat today that the tanker would be targeted if it did not obey orders from the Libyan Navy, no force has yet been used.
This evening, Zeidan said that the Army Chief of Staff refused to take orders from him or the Ministry of Defence and would only answer to the GNC and Commander-in-Chief – a role temporarily occupied by GNC head Nuri Abu Sahmain.
This does not explain why no action has yet been taken, however, as Gajam said this afternoon that the General Chief of Staff, Abdulsalam Al-Obaidi, had been instructed to take the necessary action to deal with the ship as an illegal target.
The North Korean-flagged vessel docked at Es-sider this morning at 6am. Federalists claim that, by this evening, it had loaded the equivalent of 350,000 barrels of oil. Other shipping sources, however, have said that the vessel only started loading oil at 8pm, apparently under duress from those in control of the terminal.

$35 million allegedly paid for illegal oil shipment

By Ayman Amzein.
Benghazi, 8 March 2014:
A sum of $35 million has allegedly been paid for a shipment of crude illegally being loaded at the Es-Sider oil export terminal today.
A source close to Ibrahim Jadhran, the self-styled leader of the federalist movement that has closed oil fields and facilities and created the ‘government of Cyrenaica’,  told the Libya Herald that the sum had been paid into a bank in Beida.
A North Korean-flagged tanker docked at 6am today and spokesperson for the so-called ‘government of Cyrenaica’ Ali El-Hassi said it had successfully loaded a shipment of the equivalent of 350,000 barrels of oil by early evening.
There are reports, however, that the tanker did not actually start loading until 8pm. A well-placed shipping source said that the captain had wanted to leave without the oil but that the crew were threatened and forced to start loading operations.
A number of sources, including a member of the General National Congress, said that, although sailing under the flag of North Korea, the vessel was owned by a Saudi Arabian businessman.
The Saudi Arabian Embassy, however, released a statement today saying the oil tanker was not in any way connected to the Kingdom.
The Saudi ambassador said that the Kingdom respected Libyan sovereignty over its territorial waters and its right to defend its interests. It condemned any violation of international regulations and laws that undermined the Libyan sovereignty, he added.

Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said that military action would be taken against the vessel if it did not follow instructions from the Libyan Navy.

North Korean-flagged tanker docks at Es-sider oil export terminal

By Tom Westcott.
Tripoli, 8 March 2014:
A North Korean-flagged oil-tanker intending to illegally export Libyan crude docked at Es-sider oil export terminal early this morning.
The terminal has been blockaded since August last year by federalists operating under Ibrahim Jadhran.
The vessel docked at 6am, spokesperson for the National Oil Company (NOC), Mohamed Al-Harrari, told the Libya Herald. The Saudi-registered vessel, called Morning Glory, was sailing under the flag of North Korea, he added.
Harrari said that, although the vessel had berthed, it had not yet been loaded with crude.
This is the second attempt to illegally export oil from Essider, after a Maltese-flagged tanker tried to enter Libyan waters in January this year. The Libyan Navy fired warning shots into the air and the vessel headed back out to sea.
The Navy said in January that it would use force against any further vessels attempting to illegally load oil from the terminal which, along with Ras Lanuf and Zuitina, remains under force majeure.
Libyan Navy spokesman Ayoub Qassem today declined to give any comment on the Morning Glory or the current situation at Es-sider.

Libya threatens to bomb 'illegal' NKorea-flagged tanker


A general view shows the Hariqa oil port and loading installation on August 20, 2013 in Tobruk, Libya
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Benghazi (Libya) (AFP) - Libya threatened Saturday to bomb a North Norean-flagged tanker, which is suspected of trying to load an illegal cargo at the Al-Sidra oil terminal, if the vessel does not leave port.
Militants blockading the terminal in eastern Libya had been trying to load crude aboard the ship, a lawmaker said earlier, in the latest challenge to the government control of exports.
Deputy Defence Minister Khaled al-Sherif told AFP a "crisis committee" made up of government officials and lawmakers had issued an ultimatum for the ship to leave Libyan territorial waters.
"If the ship doesn't comply, it will be bombed by the air force or intercepted at sea by the navy," Sherif said.
An MP and committee member said the deadline 2:00 pm (1200 GMT) deadline had expired without any action being taken.
Earlier, a member of the energy committee in Libya's interim parliament, the General National Congress, said an "oil tanker, bearing the name Morning Glory, anchored on Saturday at 4:00 am (0200 GMT) at the port of Al-Sidra."
Militants seeking autonomy for Libya's east, were trying to load a shipment of petroleum "outside the framework of the state," said the GNC member, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Acting Oil Minister Omar Shakmak denounced the move as an "act of piracy."
"This is a violation of national sovereignty. It is up to the defence ministry to deal with this ship," he told AFP, without elaborating.
The latest crisis erupted in July, when security guards at key oil terminals shut them down, accusing the authorities of corruption and demanding a more equitable distribution of oil revenues.
The situation has become more complicated as self-rule activists in the east have insisted on the right to export.
Saturday's incident was the latest in a standoff between the government and militants over exports, which are the principal source of revenue for the North African country.
In January, the navy prevented two tankers docking in Al-Sidra to take on crude. The government even threatened to bomb any ships attempting to dock without permission from the National Oil Corporation.
Following the blockade, production plunged to around 250,000 barrels per day from 1.5 million bpd, and the economy ministry estimated the treasury has lost more than $9 billion (6.5 billion euros) in revenue.
Production has since recovered to 546,000 bpd, but the crisis has taken its toll.

Libya rebels load oil on to North Korea-flagged tanker

The Libyan navy ship Ibn Auf, docked in the capital Tripoli on 8 JanuaryThis Libyan navy ship, the Ibn Auf on Monday fired warning shots to prevent another, Maltese-flagged, oil tanker from docking and loading crude at Sidra

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Rebels who seized oil ports in eastern Libya say they have loaded oil on to a North Korean-flagged tanker.
The Morning Glory docked at Sidra port earlier on Saturday, after a failed attempt to dock on Tuesday.
"We started exporting oil. This is our first shipment," a rebel spokesman said. The rebels demand more autonomy - and oil wealth - for Libya's east.
Libyan officials confirmed to the BBC the Morning Glory had docked. They said the rebel move was an "act of piracy".
Analysts have said it is more likely the ship is sailing under a North Korean flag of convenience, than being controlled from Pyongyang. They say it is extremely unusual for a North Korean-flagged oil tanker to operate in the Mediterranean.
Map of Libya
Libya's state-owned National Oil Corp (NOC) had warned tankers against approaching the port, and two others in Libya's volatile east that are also controlled by armed groups.
It is not the first attempt to ship oil from the rebel-controlled port.
On Monday the Libyan navy ship Ibn Auf fired warning shots at a Maltese-flagged oil tanker to prevent it from docking and loading oil.
The owners of the ship complained it was fired on in international waters.
Libya's government has tried to end a wave of protests at oil fields and ports, which have slashed vital oil revenues, but there has been little progress in indirect talks between the government and former militia leader Ibrahim Jathran, now leading the protests.
His men seized three eastern ports last year, which previously accounted for 600,000 barrels of oil a day.
Libya is struggling with armed groups and tribesmen who helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but who have kept their weapons.
The BBC's Rana Jawad in Libya says Mr Jathran's demands include an independent commission representing the three regions of Libya. He wants the commission to supervise the sale of oil and ensure the east gets a fair share of the revenue.
The government has so far not acted on threats to retake Sidra, or other rebel-controlled ports.
Libya's oil output has slowed to a trickle since the protests started in July last year, depriving the OPEC producer of its main budget source.

Libya port rebels say started exporting oil

TRIPOLI Sat Mar 8, 2014 9:07am EST
The entrance to Zueitina oil terminal is seen in Zueitina, about 120 km (75 miles) west of Benghazi July 18, 2013. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori
The entrance to Zueitina oil terminal is seen in Zueitina, about 120 km (75 miles) west of Benghazi July 18, 2013.


(Reuters) - Armed protesters controlling ports in eastern Libya said on Saturday they had started exporting oil, bypassing the Tripoli government in a major escalation of their blockade to demand a greater share of the nation's petroleum wealth.

A North Korean-flagged tanker docked earlier at the Es Sider port, which is controlled by protesters who want more regional autonomy, officials at state-run National Oil Corp (NOC) confirmed.

The oil standoff is one part of deepening turmoil in the North African OPEC producer, where the government is struggling to control militias who helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but kept their weapons and are challenging state authority.

Any independent shipment would be a blow to Libya's government. Tripoli had said it would destroy tankers trying to buy oil from Ibrahim Jathran, a former anti-Gaddafi rebel who seized the port and two others with thousands of his men in August.

"We started exporting oil. This is our first shipment," said a spokesman for the protesters based in the eastern town of Ajdabiyah.

Jathran had commanded a brigade of former rebels paid by the state to protect petroleum facilities. He defected with his troops, however, to take over the ports.

There was no immediate word from the Libyan government and navy about the shipment, but Prime Minister Ali Zeidan and the justice minister scheduled news conferences in the afternoon.

In January, the Libyan navy fired on a Maltese-flagged tanker which it said had tried to load oil from the protesters in the Es Sider port.

The tanker Morning Glory, which was previously flagged in Liberia and can load around 35,000 tonnes (about 250,000 barrels) of oil, had been circling off the Libyan coast for days.
The vessel had tried to dock at Es Sider on Tuesday, when port workers still loyal to the central government had told the crew to turn back.
Workers confirmed they could see the ship docked at the port, but it was not immediately clear whether it had started loading crude. Tanks at Es Sider and other seized ports are full, according to oil sources.
"We have informed the government and the defense ministry so they can take action," a senior NOC official said, adding that the tanker's crew "are trying to buy oil illegally."
It is extremely unusual for an oil tanker flagged in secretive North Korea to operate in the Mediterranean region, shipping sources said.
A spokesman for NOC said the Morning Glory was owned by a Saudi company. It had changed ownership in the past few weeks and previously been called Gulf Glory, according to a shipping source.
Western powers worry Libya will slide into instability or even break apart as the government, paralyzed by political battles in parliament, struggles to assert control of a vast country awash with arms and militias.
At a Libya conference this week in Rome, Western countries voiced concern that tensions in Libya could slip out of control in the absence of a functioning political system, and urged the government and rival factions to start talking.
Libya's government has tried to end a wave of protests at oil ports and fields across the vast desert state that have slashed oil output, the country's lifeline, to 230,000 barrels per day (bpd), from 1.4 million bpd in July.
Tripoli has held indirect talks with Jathran but his demand for a greater share of oil revenues for the east, like the region had under Gaddafi's predecessor King Idris, is sensitive for a government that worries this might lead to secession.
Jathran has teamed up with another set of protesters blocking oil exports at the 110,000-bpd Hariga port in Tobruk, also located in the east.
Libya's defense minister held talks this week with protesters blocking the 340,000-bpd El Sharara oilfield in the south but NOC has not confirmed whether it will reopen soon.
The protesters, from a tribal minority, want national identity cards and a local council, demands the minister has promised to study.

Major Government News Item........

Congress members walkout in February 

Committee vote dispute

By Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 10 March 2014:
Some 50 members of the General National Congress, many of them women, walked out of yesterday’s sitting in protest at a change to the agenda which meant that there would be debate on the proposals submitted by the February Committee for early direct elections for a replacement to Congress and a state president.
The members were angry at the decision by the GNC president Nuri Abu Sahmain giving Congress members time to discuss the proposal rather than to directly vote on it.
They claimed that the proposals had to be voted on in their entirety, without any amendments and without discussions. 
“We completely reject discussing the proposal,” a protesting member told the Libya Herald on condition of anonymity. “We should vote on it directly in accordance with the decision of forming the February committee.”
This, the member said, had been that Congress would vote to either accept or reject the proposals as a whole without discussion.
The reason some members wanted to discuss the proposal, it was claimed, was so that they could amend the article on elections for the state president, making it an appointment by the new legislature rather than being elected by Libyan voters.
Supporters and members of the Muslim Brotherhood, while now accepting that there should be early elections to a successor to Congress are known to oppose direct elections to the state president, supposedly because they fear a candidate with a Muslim Brotherhood link would be rejected by the Libyan public.
The Brotherhood wanted to make themselves the guardians of the Libyan people and deprive them of their right to choose the president of Libya through free direct elections as it was mention by February Committee, the member said.
Murzuk Congressman Abdulwahab Al-Ghayed, a member of Al-Wafa block which includes the Justice & Construction Party and members of the Brotherhood, told both Ajwa Liblad news agency and Libya Ahrar TV station that the block opposed the proposal of February Committee of direct elections of the president, claiming that the block feared it would lead to new dictator.
“One or two big tribes in Libya [by themselves] could determine the name of the president. Therefore we call for immediate elections [to a new Congress] by the law that elected the [present] Congress, and then leave it to it to elect the next president” Ghayed said.
He added that the February Committee’s proposal was very long and there was a need fora quick response to the demands of the street, and this could be found in quick elections for a new Congress.
Zawiya Congressman Said Jarjar, a member of Justice and Judicial Authorities Committee, told this newspaper that it was perfectly legitimate to discuss and review the February Committee’s proposal before voting on it.
Intense efforts were being made by members to reach a consensus on the proposal, Jarjar said, explaining that debate was still ongoing among the blocs in Congress.

Sharara blockade partially lifted

By Jamal Adel.

Akakus operations (Photo: Akakus Oil)
Akakus operations (Photo: Akakus Oil)
Tripoli, 10 March, 2014.
Protestors at the Sharara oilfield in the south-west of the country who have been preventing oil being pumped say they suspended their action on Saturday. However, they say they will be back in a fortnight’s time if their demands are not met.
The decision to lift the blockade follows another visit to the the second largest oilfield in the country by Defence Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni. The field is  operated by Akakus Oil.
“Either we’ll be satisfied with our demands being met soon or we’ll blocking the oilfield again in two weeks’ time,” a leading member of the Sharara blockaders, Mahmoud Al-Ansari, told the Libya Herald. “We lifted the blockade temporarily on the Saturday because of Abdullah Al-Thanni’s visit to the Sharara a few days ago” he explained.
Al-Thanni was at the oilfield on 2 March to meet the protestors, his second visit to the site. In January he managed to get them to lift their blockade after assuring them that the authorities would listen to their complaints.  However, they renewed their action in mid February complaining that the government had not done so. Last week after Thinni’s second visit, the protestors said that they would not lift the blockade, declaring that his renewed attempt at mediation was just “words”.
It is not clear what made them change their minds.
The suspension will have limited effect as the pipeline to the Zawia refinery and terminal is still subject to separate action near Reyayna in the Jebel Nafusa by members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard from Zintan who have turned down the valves, demanding what had been described as compensation.
“The resumption of production started yesterday afternoon, but we couldn’t pump more than 100,000 b/d so far out of its total capacity 35000,000 b/d, because the block near Reyayana is what is now disrupting the usual flow of oil,” Sharara oilfield manager Hassan Al-Sideek told this newspaper.
The flow has been cut by more than 80 percent according to Husain Al-Hingari, in charge of the Sharara terminals at Zawia port.
“Zintan Local Council and the elders are doing their best to mediate the situation and convince the PFG members to lift their block on the terminal,” Mustafa Al-Barouni, a member of the council said.

Sunday key GNC day as it votes on adopting new Road Map recommended by “February” Committee.

By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 8 March 2014:
Tomorrow could turn out to be a seminal day in the history of the new post-February 17th Libya as the General National Council (GNC) attempts to vote on a number of key issues that could determine Libya’s new and nascent democratic future.
The GNC published on Wednesday its four-point agenda (number 174) for tomorrow’s ordinary sitting which include (item 3) yet another vote of no-confidence in the Ali Zeidan government as well as (item 4) an attempt to solve the conundrum of having some sort of inclusivity for the ethnic minorities in the constitutional process.
However, in the current political upheaval regarding the representativeness and legitimacy of the GNC beyond February 7, according to one interpretation of the Transitional Constitutional Declaration (TCD) of August 2011 (the current social contract between the Libyan public and its ruler), item 1 in tomorrow’s agenda is the most pivotal in terms of long term political stability and consensus.
Tomorrow’s GNC agenda as provided by the GNC is as follows:
1st Item: Adoption of the road map and vote on direct or indirect presidential elections.
2nd Item: Hearing to a mutual report from the Audit Bureau and Administrative Control Authority.
3rd Item: Voting directly to withdraw confidence from the government and name a new Prime Minister.
4th Item: Voting on amendments to the constitutional declaration to ensure rights of ethnic groups in the Constituent Body for Drafting Committee.
Last week the “February” Committee made its recommendations that both the president and legislature of Libya be elected directly by the public.
This committee was set up in February as part of the new roadmap and it is tasked with amending the current TCD in order to prepare for elections in June if the Constitutional Drafting Committee reports by early May that it does not think it can prepare a draft constitution by July.
The February Committee presented the following for the GNC to vote on in case elections are held in June. However, it is known that many GNC members prefer that the next president of Libya be elected by the GNC , as opposed to by the public directly.
The February Committee is comprised of 15 members – 6 from the GNC and 9 independent members.
Here are the 57 articles recommended by the February Committee.

Security Item........

Suspected murder squad arrested in Sirte

By Ashraf Abdul-Wahab.
Tripoli, 8 March 2014:
Five members of a group suspected of being behind a number of assassinations in Sirte have been arrested, according to sources in the town.
They are alleged to have been involved in the killing a week ago of Makhlouf Ben Nasser Al-Ferjani who headed Sirte Military Council who was killed a week ago as well as of the Deputy Minister of Industry, Hassan Al-Daroue, murdered in January,  and Colonel Ramadan Al-Tarooq, who worked at the local passports office. He was killed in December.
The five were caught by members of the army’s infantry battalion No. 136 on Thursday but it was only yesterday that the news was announced.
They are alleged to be Qaddafi supporters, four of them allegedly being members of the Qadhadhfa tribe and the fifth a Tawerghan who had been living in Sirte since its population was forced to flee at the end of the revolution.
It is claimed that found with them was an execution list of 40 supporters of the revolution in Sirte.
When Al-Daroue, himself from Sirte, was shot dead in January, it was claimed that former regime sympathisers were involved but no evidence was produced at the time.
The five are said to have confessed to the killings during interrogation by the local Criminal Investigation Department. It intends to hand them over to the Public prosecutor. 
Sirte is reckoned to be the third most dangerous place in the country, after Benghazi and Derna.

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