Friday, August 5, 2011
Oil Tanker Cartagena docks in Benghazi
The Libyan oil tanker Cartagena captured by rebels off Malta was taken to Benghazi
Libyan Rebels' Morale Soars as Al Qathafi Tanker Docks at Benghazi
A NATO official has said that a Libyan oil tanker that had earlier been reported to have been seized by rebels opposing Libyan leader Muammar Al Qathafi was cleared to proceed by NATO ships enforcing an arms embargo. Later on Thursday, the Cartagena steamed into the rebel-held port of Benghazi.
Suspected Libyan rebels are said to have seized the massive oil tanker Cartagena, which belonged to the Libyan government's shipping arm, off Malta and set course for Benghazi.
The docking of the Cartagena, that was carrying at least 30,000 tonnes of gasoline - a scarce commodity in government territory - boosted the rebels' morale and regarded it a minor victory after last week's setback in which the commander of their forces, general Abdel-Fatah Younis was slain.
NATO forces enforcing an arms embargo on Libya had hailed the 182-metre-long "Cartagena", emblazoned with the initials of the state-owned General National Maritime Transport Company, in the Mediterranean. Then cleared it to proceed to enter Benghazi, which it did shortly before midday local time on Thursday.
Sources said that the rebels had been informed about the vessel by NATO's operational hub in Naples, Italy, that had contact with the boat on Wednesday. The rebels then intercepted it, also with the help of the alliance, close to Tripoli. The rebels said there was no resistance, but the fate of the crew on board is unclear.