The latest attacks on Libya’s oil ports by Islamic State (IS) forces are likely to continue along the coast as militants further their ambitions in Libya, maritime security company Dryad Maritime believes.
However, at this stage there is no evidence that this intent will extend to attacking vessels offshore, Dryad added.
The prediction comes following an IS attack of the oil port of Zueitina on Sunday 9th January in three boats which was repelled by Libya’s Petroleum Facilities Guard before any of the craft managed to enter the port itself, leaving one of the boats ablaze.
Islamic State forces launched land based attacks on the oil terminals of As Sidr and Ras Lanuf, some 90 NM to the west of Zuetina between 4th – 6th January. The clashes left 18 guards dead and more than 50 injured as IS rockets caused fires at seven oil storage tanks at those terminals, the fires were later extinguished.
“The recent Islamic State forces’ raids on Ras Lanuf’s and As Sidr’s facilities highlight the threat that IS now poses especially to the east of their stronghold in Sirte. Dryad judges that as a result, the threat to commercial shipping and mariners near Ras Lanuf, As Sidr and Zuetina is now HIGH,” Dryad said.
Until the Libyan military, possibly with assistance with an international coalition of forces can control this area, further attacks by Jihadists against port oil facilities are likely, the security firm continued.
Dryad reiterated that all three ports are currently closed for trade. All shipping companies wishing to operate in Libya should only do so after receiving a comprehensive risk assessment to fully understand the potential threats to their crew and vessel, the firm warned.