Not your father’s Mediterranean: Russian tanker seized by Libyan coast guard – for oil smuggling

Not your father’s Mediterranean: Russian tanker seized by Libyan coast guard – for oil smuggling
Tanker Mekhanik Cherbotarev awaits her fate in Tripoli. (Image: AFP, Mahmud Turkia via Yahoo!)

[Ed. – Welcome to the brave new world.  This Russian ship is not a rust-bucket operated by a crime boss on Malta — nor is the Russian flag a flag of convenience.  The ship, Mekhanik Cherbotarev, is Russian owned and chartered by a registered shipping company, Roschartering CJSC.  There can be no doubt that the Russian government was aware of what was going on.  The Mediterranean is already not NATO’s pond anymore.]

Libya’s coast guard said Thursday it had intercepted a Russian-flagged tanker suspected of carrying an illegal shipment of petrol and detained 12 crew members from Russia.

“We received a signal on the presence of a ship transporting an illegal cargo of petrol near Zuwara,” 160 kilometres (100 miles) west of Tripoli, on Wednesday, Captain Taoufik Mohamad Assakir, operations chief for central Libya, told AFP.

The ship loaded with five million litres (one million gallons) of petrol was boarded 14 nautical miles off Zuwara and diverted to the naval base in Tripoli, he said.

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