By Gabriel Harrison.
Tunis, 31 August 2017:
Two more foreign vessels were arrested by the coastguard yesterday off the west coast of Libya. A tanker, named the Rex, and a fishing boat have been taken to Tripoli where the crews are being questioned.
The Tanzanian-flagged oil products tanker had been tracked for several days according to a coastguard official in Tripoli. The 43 year-old vessel, once called the Amari, allegedly contained 1,160,000 litres of fuel, said navy spokesman Ayoub Gassem. He claimed the cargo was being smuggled. Another coastguard official said the tanker had been tracked for several days beforehand. However, it is unclear were the diesel was loaded.
The second boat captured by the Libyan coastguard was trawler, said to be Maltese and allegedly caught fishing without authorisation in Libyan territorial waters.
This makes three vessels detained by the Libyan coastguard this week. On Sunday, a Greek-owned oil tanker, Levante, was seized off Zawia also on suspicion of fuel smuggling. It was taken to Tripoli where it is still being held.