By Ayman Amzein and Tom Westcott.
Benghazi, 21 July 2013:
A vessel owned by a Ukrainian man who allegedly commandeered a previous shipment . . .[restrict]of cars bound for Libya is been held in Benghazi.
The ship was impounded while unloading vehicles in Benghazi port. It follows a dispute dating back to March this year. A group of Libyan businessmen claim that the owner of the vessel was responsible for “commandeering” 597 cars destined for Libya from Jordan’s Aqaba Port.
The cars, which had been purchased from Jordanian Zarqa Free Zone, were said to be worth some LD 12 million.
“We will not allow the vessel to leave until we recover our cars that were looted by the Ukrainians,” said one of the investors, Muftah Al-Barasi. He is acting as spokesman for the 25 businessmen who were importing the cars from Jordan.
An official source has confirmed to the Libya Herald that the ship is being held in Benghazi Port. There are 19 Ukrainian crew on board.
Reports in the Jordanian press about the incident in March said that the vessel had left Aqaba for Benghazi with all paperwork in order, but unexpectedly changed course towards the Black Sea port of Odessa, in Ukraine. This has been confirmed by an official and, since the incident, there has been an “ongoing investigation” by the Ukrainian government.
Al-Barasi complained that the Libyan government had done nothing to help with the return of the stolen cars. “All the government has done was to give empty promises,” he said. [/restrict]