Libyan PM threatens to "destroy or sink" illicit oil tankers

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan issued a stark warning to foreign oil companies on Wednesday to dissuade companies from conducting illegal business with Libyan rebels.
Posted By JC Finley  |  Jan. 9, 2014 at 4:49 PM
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Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan threatened Wednesday to "destroy or sink" oil tankers doing business with militias.

Zeidan issued the following threat to foreign oil companies:

“any country or company or gang trying to send tankers to take oil from the seized ports without coordinating with the NOC, we will deal with them, even if we are forced to destroy or sink them. We warn all countries there will be no leniency.”

National Oil Company spokesman Mohammed el-Hariri confirmed the prime minister's threat, noting that the Libyan Navy would respond to violations. "We ask all companies to deal with the Libyan government, not to deal with other entities." The Libyan government has restricted oil tankers from docking at some ports that are now under control of rebels. On Sunday, the Libyan Navy said it stopped a tanker from loading oil at the banned Es Sider terminal.

On Tuesday, Libyan rebels responded to the Navy's diversion at Es Sider by inviting foreign oil companies to buy rebel-controlled oil from the self-declared regional government in the eastern Cyrenaica region, promising the safety of tankers entering rebel waters.

[Wall Street Journal] [New York Times]

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