French Navy blocks illicit oil shipment heading to eastern Libya
On Thursday, a French navy frigate intervened along with the United Nations to stop a tanker as it was on its way to load refined oil products from an eastern Libyan port in violation of UN sanctions.
The illicit operation failed, leaving the oil vessel loitering offshore for almost a week, according to reports.
“The French Cassard class frigate Jean-Bart was on a European Union mission called Irini that aims to enforce a weapons embargo on Libya and block illicit oil sales that could finance the warring parties in that country’s conflict,” according to UN and Western diplomats who spoke to Bloomberg and asked not to be identified.
Reports added that Jean-Bart approached the Jal Laxmi tanker on May 22 and hailed it after Irini received information that it was headed to the port of Tobruk, as part of a sale of refined products to a company registered in the United Arab Emirates.
Along with the frigate’s contact with the Jal Laxmi, the US and United Nations also exerted pressure behind the scenes to block the shipment, three diplomats said.
The UN’s Panel of Experts and sanctions committee have warned all parties involved that they were violating the UN embargo, one of the diplomats told Bloomberg.
“The UN welcomes France’s actions and indeed all efforts to uphold the UN embargo,” the UN Support Mission in Libya said in a statement on Friday.
UNSMIL added there have been multiple and concerted efforts on the part of the UN member states and the UN Panel of Experts to contact all companies and countries involved in this current affair regarding the Jal Laxmi to caution all involved against proceeding.
In an effort to pressure his opponents in the nation’s capital in January, Khalifa Haftar allowed loyalists to shut down oil production.
The Tripoli-based National Oil Corporation, which is in charge of production and exports, said on Thursday that losses from the shutdown have cost Libya more than $4.9 billion in revenue.