Libya PM Threatens to Sink Oil Tankers Near Coast

Navy Fired on Maltese-Flagged Tanker in International Waters

With rising prices of Brent crude oil fueling concerns about the European markets, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has added even more reason for pessimism, openly threatening to sink oil tankers in the Mediterranean.

Libya has been facing months of unrest, with Cyrenaica aiming for more autonomy and protesters effectively moving several eastern ports from government control.

Instead of figuring that just leaves that oil forever ungettable, tankers are keen to just go to the east coast and deal with whoever the de facto controllers of the ports are at any given time, but Zeidan says any ships getting too close will be attacked and sunk.

Underscoring that threat, a Maltese-flagged tanker was reportedly attacked in international waters by the Libyan Navy. The ship was said to be trying to go to Es-Sider, one of the ports in question.

The current Libyan government is a product of the NATO-imposed regime change, and retains only tentative control over much of the country. The government is dominated by Gadhafi-era defectors, and a number of the militias involved in the initial ousted of Gadhafi have gone their separate ways, clashing with one another over spheres of influence.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.