Last updateSam, 31 Jan 2015 7pm

Oil: North Korean oil tanker 'under control of Libyan armed forces'

The Libyan navy, backed by the revolutionary units, on Monday evening took control of an oil tanker flying the North Korean flag which illegally loaded crude oil from the Al-Sidera port in the east of the country.

'The oil tanker flying the North Korean flag is presently under the control of the navy and the Libyan revolutionaries who are taking it to a harbour controlled by the government,' said the spokesperson for the organization of oil installation guards, Walid Al-Tarhouni.

The Al-Sidera port has been under the control of autonomous armed groups since last July.

Mr Al-Tarhouni, in an interview on the private television channel Al-Nabaa, said that warning shots were fired.

”The oil tanker returned to the port of Al-Sidera then sailed back before the navy and the revolutionary units took control of it by sailing it to a port, possibly that of Zaouia, 50 km west of Tripoli, to unload the cargo,' he said.

The oil tanker berthed on Saturday at the oil port of Al-Sidera, forcing the authorities to deploy several Libyan navy frigates to investigate the incident.

Libyan Prime minister Ali Zeidan described the operation as 'illegal sale' of Libyan oil, and 'a violation of the country’s sovereignty and international law'. He warned that the armed forces would not hesitate to use force to stop it.

Libyan oil guards, have since July been blocking the eastern oil terminals to protest the sale of crude oil without proper records. They then transformed their movement to proclaim the autonomy of the area.

The chairman of the national general congress (CNG), the country’s highest parliamentary and political authority, Nouri Abousahmein, on Monday decided to form a military force to lift the blockade on the main oil terminals in eastern Libya by the armed groups, who are supporting the federal system.

Pana 12/03/2014