Libya - Airstrikes at Libyan ports

16 January 2015


Members may be aware from news reports of an escalation of civil strife within Libya. Until recently, this was not thought to affect the safety of vessels calling at Libyan ports. However, in early January the tanker “Araevo” was attacked by the Libyan Airforce at the port of Derna (for a report of the incident, please click here) and Lloyds List report that a second tanker was attacked yesterday at the port of Misrata. Further, there has also been a report in the Libya Herald that the Libyan air force has threatened to strike any Misrata bound ships.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) yesterday published a Circular setting out the position, which indicates that there is an increased risk of commercial vessels being attacked due to this significant security concern. Importantly, the Circular expressly states as follows:

“ICS has learned that ‘vessels transiting through the Mediterranean are advised to remain clear of Libyan waters.  Vessels intending to call at Misrata are advised to contact port and flag State authorities and local shipping agents for further instructions’.

The Secretariat has been advised that some flag Administrations have issued notices to the effect that shipowners should carefully consider whether to continue with scheduled calls at Libyan ports given the change in the security situation.  Notices pertaining to the situation are uploaded to the NATO Shipping Centre Website (click here) to which reference should be made on a regular  basis. 

ICS strongly recommends that shipowners should contact the P&I Club and War Risk Underwriters for further advice on each specific voyage.”

For a full copy of the ICS Circular click here. Members should be guided by the ICS recommendations.