A tanker laden with oil from a rebel-held terminal in eastern Libya broke through a naval blockade and escaped to sea on Tuesday, prompting angry MPs to move to oust the prime minister. The North Korean-flagged Morning Glory, which is reported to have taken on at least 234,000 barrels of crude, is the first vessel to have loaded oil from a rebel-held terminal since the revolt against the Tripoli authorities erupted last July. Prime Minister Ali Zeidan’s government had threatened armed action, even an air strike, to prevent the tanker getting away with its cargo of oil bought from the rebels’ self-declared autonomous regional government.
But members of Libya’s parliament, the General National Congress, said that bad weather prevented the navy’s small vessels from following the huge ship out into the Mediterranean from the port of Al-Sidra. The oil tanker took advantage of poor weather conditions to head for the open sea. The ships that were surrounding it were not in a position to follow,” one GNC member told AFP.
Abdelkader Houili, who sits on the GNC’s energy committee, told Al-Nabaa television that the navy’s warships, which mainly consist of fast patrol boats, had been forced to sail close to the coast because of the weather. The tanker then took advantage of the gap to head for the open sea,” he said. The Morning Glory’s escape is a new humilation for the Tripoli authorities, who have struggled to assert control over much of the country since the NATO-backed 2011 revolt that ended the 42-year dictatorship of Moamer Kadhafi. In eastern Libya in particular, a myriad of former rebel militias, Islamist as well as regionalist, have carved out their own fiefdoms. The prime minister was himself briefly abducted by former rebel militia in the heart of the capital last October. Via pmnewsnigeria.com