A Greek-owned tanker has been seized and its crew arrested in Libya on suspicion they planned to smuggle oil out of the North African country.
“The naval forces seized a Togo-flagged oil tanker in the territorial waters without permissions from the state of Libya. It has the name LAMAR,” Libyan naval forces spokesman Ayoub Qassem told Reuters.
“It was captured (late on Wednesday) about 8 miles off Abu Kamash town, near the border with Tunisia,” he said.
Greek media report that the LAMAR was owned by a Greek company, and that its eight Greek crew members have been arrested and their case referred to the general prosecutor.
The tanker was carrying about 950,000 liters of fuel when it was “intercepted… then directed to the Tripoli naval base”, Colonel Abouajila Abdel Barri, a coast guard officer, told AFP.
There has been no comment yet from the Greek authorities.
Correspondents say that Libya’s western coast is a departure point for the smuggling of heavily subsidised gasoline to neighbours such as Tunisia and Malta, where retail prices are much higher.