Former Prime Minister Ali Zeidan did not run away from Libya – Thinni
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.
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.
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”
( 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
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/11/2014 15:34 -0400
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
- *LIBYA NAVY FIRE HIT TANKER AS IT FLED TO INTL WATERS: SKYNEWS
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..
- *EAST LIBYA REBELS ANNOUNCE START OF OIL EXPORTS, NABAA TV SAYS
- *LIBYA REBELS SEEK TO SELL OIL FROM ALL PORTS THEY CONTROL: TV
And for a while they were right...
- *OIL TANKER ESCAPES LIBYA NAVY INTO INTERNATIONAL WATERS:JAZEERA
- *LIBYAN MP HUWAILI SAYS TANKER ESCAPED TO INTL WATERS: NABAA TV
- *LIBYA'S HUWAILI SAYS GOVT TO ASK INTERPOL TO TRACK TANKER
Which led to:
- *LIBYAN PARLIAMENT OUSTS PRIME MINISTER, AP SAYS
- *LIBYAN DEFENSE MINISTER WILL ASSUME ROLE OF PM FOR 15 DAYS
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:
- *LIBYA NAVY FIRE HIT TANKER AS IT FLED TO INTL WATERS: SKYNEWS
And, as the Libya Herald reports,
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
North Korean-flagged tanker still in port – NOC
Congress recalls General Chief of Staff over
illegal oil shipment
LIBYA SEPARATISTS LOAD
NKOREA OIL SHIP AND
IGNORE WARNINGLibyan 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
$35 million allegedly paid for illegal oil shipment
North Korean-flagged tanker docks at Es-sider oil export terminal
Libya rebels load oil on to North Korea-flagged tanker
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.
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
(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........