A bulker berthed at Libya’s Ras Lanuf’s non-oil port to discharge cement but found the port closed with Libya’s National Oil Company (NOC) declaring force majeure. NOC also stated that there would be no oil exports from Ras Lanuf or the neighbouring Es Sider Oil Port.
The force majeure was declared in March as attacks on oilfields in the area by Islamic State fighters resumed despite a cease fire.
The unnamed cement ship stayed at the port for four days to discharge its load, a port official told Reuters but added that here were no oil exports from Ras Lanuf.
Libyan ports may be faced with shutdowns as a result of possible strike of civil servants, who have not been paid for two months, UK-based maritime security firm MAST said.
The UN has announced the official Libyan Government is heading towards bankruptcy which has seen delays in paying of wages to civil servants, who make up over 50% of the country’s employed workforce.
Should police and military services start to strike, MAST believes that this would only increase the chaos engulfing the country and allow ISIL to make further progress.
“In addition, the majority of oil and gas installations are government owned and run so ports may close due to strikes,” MAST said.
According to the security firm, ISIL have consolidated their position in Sirte and appear to be heading west towards the Port of Misrata. Misrata is currently held by the Libyan Dawn, based in Tripoli. They are calling for a united effort to assist in preventing ISIL from making progress through the country.
“Any port that is ISIL held might be subject to aerial bombing by the Tobruk Government. Therefore, we strongly advise that prior to entering a Libyan port a full risk assessment be conducted. It is also necessary to maintain a good watch on the commercial status of the port, as closures can occur at short or no notice,” said Gerry Northwood OBE, COO of leading maritime security company MAST.