Greek Oil Tanker Bombed By Libyan Fighter Jets, Two Killed
On Monday, two Libyan fighter jets bombed a Greek oil tanker stationed at the port of Derna and killed two crew members, a Greek and a Romanian. The Liberian-flagged Araevo was hit twice on the front part of the ship, and two other sailors were injured on the attack.
The Araevo had 26 crew members on board, 21 Filipinos, three Greeks and two Romanians. The Greek vessel was also carrying 12,600 tons of crude oil after being loaded at Brega port, but there were no reports of oil leakage after the bombing.
The port of Derna is currently being held by Islamist extremists who have allied themselves with the radical Islamic State group. Ahmed al-Mesmari, Libyan military spokesman, remarked that the government treated the presence of the Greek tanker in Libyan territorial waters as a potential threat to national security.
“We had no information (about the tanker). We had warned any ship not to dock at the port without prior permission. We treated it as a dangerous and suspicious target that threatens national security. We regret the loss of lives.”
According to ABC News, however, the Libyan state-run National Oil Corporation released a statement contrary to al-Mesmari’s comments and stated that all parties had been informed of the ship’s arrival.
“This incident will negatively impact the arrival of oil tankers to Libyan ports in the future, which will consequently affect the ability to provide fuel to different regions.”
Following the bombing, the Greek Foreign Ministry demanded compensation for the families of the victims and punishment for those who conducted the attack. Discussions between the Libyan and Greek governments will certainly be conducted.
The LA Times reports that Turkish Airlines, the only foreign airline still making flights to Libya, suspended further flights into the country following the recent bombing.
Violence in Libya has been escalating with rival militias fighting for power ever since dictator Moammar Gadahfi was overthrown and killed in 2011. The current government is based in the city of Tobruk and is battling against rival forces stationed in Tripoli. The government in Tripoli is mostly supported by militias from Islamist extremist groups and by Libyan Dawn forces. As a result of the ongoing fighting between rival governments, oil ports have become the main target in the battles between the combating factions for control over the country.
The bombing of the Greek oil tanker came just after a recent series of kidnappings and killings of Egyptian workers in Libya.