The Malta Independent 21 March 2019, Thursday

Tanker carrying 'illegal' Libyan oil cargo 'has not attempted to enter Maltese waters'

Neil Camilleri Tuesday, 26 April 2016, 16:26 Last update: about 4 years ago

A Libyan tanker that, according to a section of the Italian media, has been “stopped by the Maltese authorities from making port in Malta” has in fact not attempted to enter Maltese waters, a spokesperson for Foreign Minister George Vella said.

Bloomberg reported yesterday that the Distya Ameya, carrying 650,000 barrels of crude oil from eastern Libya, was bound for Malta. This would be the first time that a shipment of oil has left the eastern part of the country – under the control of the ‘recognised’ Tobruk government – since the 2011 revolution. The Tripoli-based National Oil Corporation said the oil shipment was “illegal.”

Italian news agency ANSA reported this afternoon that the Maltese port authorities had refused entry to the tanker. It said the ship left Hariga yesterday carrying oil for DSA Consultancy FZC, an UAE company.

“Upon reaching Maltese territorial waters the ship was blocked and now lies at anchor 12 miles off the Maltese coast, waiting for orders,” ANSA reports.

It quoted a Foreign Affairs Ministry official as saying that the Maltese authorities were in contact with Tripoli and other European governments and confirmed that the ship was refused entry.

However, when contacted by The Malta Independent, a spokesman for Minister George Vella said the ship had never attempted to enter Maltese waters and, as such, had never been refused entry. The spokesperson was not in a position to say whether the ship was currently at anchor. “Working on intelligence gathered from various sources we are keeping track of the movements of this ship. Up to now no attempt has been made to enter Maltese waters. We will take the necessary measures pending developments. This is the situation as at 4.06pm.”

In the meantime, Transport Minister Joe Mizzi said there was no information to show that what was alleged in the Bloomberg and Ansa news reports was true.

 

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