Shelling causes fire at Airport Road fuel depot: NOC
By Sami Zaptia.
London, 17 June 2019:
Libya’s state National Oil Corporation (NOC) reported yesterday that shelling caused a fire at its Brega Petroleum Marketing Company (BPMC) subsidiary fuel depot on Tripoli’s Airport Road.
It said that BPMC firefighters brought the blaze under control, which was near LPG, thereby averting a humanitarian and environmental disaster. The NOC claimed that the fire started as a result of ‘‘direct shelling of the facility’’ at 8pm on Saturday, 15 June 15, with first responders on the scene shortly thereafter.
The NOC and BPMC urged all parties to immediately withdraw from the local area to avoid any further damage to these vital storage tanks. It stressed that the consequences to the local population of a direct hit on LPG tanks full of flammable fuel cannot be overstated.
The NOC chairman, Mustafa Sanalla said that “NOC is truly grateful to our first responders for their unrelenting courage and efforts to avoid a possible humanitarian, ecological and economic disaster. We reiterate our call for an immediate ceasefire to ongoing hostilities and an end to the blatant targeting and militarization of oil sector facilities.”
It must be borne in mind that that part of the Tripoli Airport Road is now a military zone all the way to the old disused Tripoli International Airport. A source in Tripoli confirmed that all traffic is forced to turn right at the main Airport Road traffic light in the direction of Fallah and Al-Jibs checkpoint onto Kremia road.
Moreover, residents living in the area behind the fuel depot have been forced out as forces aligned to the Faiez Serraj government are camped in the area, using local homes for shelter. This is what the NOC is referring to when it ‘‘urged all parties to immediately withdraw from the local area to avoid any further damage to these vital storage tanks’’.
It is code for the forces defending Tripoli to keep a distance from the area in order not to attract fire or return fire from the pro Khalifa Hafter forces.
It is ironic and must also be recalled that during the 2012 Tripoli militia coup which led to the destruction of Tripoli International Airport, the same fuel depots were hit and severely damaged.