Benghazi port reopened after three years of closure

Abdullah Al-Thinni (holding the helm) sails into Benghazi Port to reopen it after three years of closure. (Photo: Social Media)

Benghazi’s commercial port officially reopened on Sunday after a three-year closure due to fighting between rival factions in the east Libyan city.

To mark the opening Abdullah al-Thinni, prime minister of a government based in the east, arrived on board a tanker sent from the eastern city of Tobruk.

The port does not export oil, but imports gas and some petroleum products as well as general cargo, and local costs for these would be reduced by the port’s reopening, port spokesman Nasser Al-Maghrabi said.

“Today Benghazi port opened and a tanker from Tobruk entered as a message to the world that the port is safe and we are ready to receive tankers,” port manager Abdulazim Al-Abbar said by telephone.

“Until now we have not received notification of tankers arriving for exports and imports – for now we are starting up and waiting.”

Like Benghazi’s airport, the port had been closed since 2014 because of a conflict between forces loyal to eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar and an alliance of Islamists and other opponents.

Haftar declared victory in early July, though isolated skirmishes continued. Benghazi airport reopened in mid-July.

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