Libya Closes Tobruk Port

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The Libyan Ministry of Transport has decided to close the Port of Tobruk.

As explained, the port will be closed with immediate effect for import and export activities.

Shipments from/to Libya will be regularly accepted for the following ports: Al Khums, Benghazi, Misurata and Tripoli.

The closure follows the order of the head of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Hafter, to General Transport Authority director Mohamed Abdelgader, local news agency Libya Herald reported.

Foreign ships are advised to use the Port of Benghazi instead. The order has no impact on oil shipments through Tobruk’s Hariga terminal, according to Libya Herald.

The reason for the closure of the port has not been officially disclosed. However, media reports suggest that the move is aimed at prevention of smuggling through the port.

At the beginning of October, Libya’s Port of Benghazi reopened after a three-year-long closure due to the military conflict in the country.

The port opening was marked with the arrival of an oil tanker from Tobruk with Abdullah al-Thinni, the Prime Minister of a government based in the east, on board the ship.

As of October 19, 2017, the port situation in Libya is reported to be as follows, according to Gard:

  • Working: Farwah, Bouri, Melittah, Zawia, Tripoli, Al Khoms, Misurata, Es Sider, Ras Lanuf, Marsa El Brega, Zuetina, Benghazi and Marsa El Hariga
  • Closed: Sirte, Derna and Tobruk

All working ports are currently considered safe for ships and crew. The situation is, however, subject to change and Gard advised its members to warn their ships’ crews of the volatility of situation and carry out an assessment of the risks involved prior to entering or transiting Libyan waters.

Ships should exercise caution when entering Libyan ports and waters, particularly when navigating in the coastal waters near Derna, Benghazi and Sirte. NAVAERA III warning 225/2016 recommends that all ships in or near the militarised area south of 34°00’N should also report their position to the nearest Coastal Station in order to receive a safe track-line, Gard added.

World Maritime News Staff

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