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Two crew members killed as Libyan oil tanker bombards Greek vessel near Derna port

Two crew members killed as Libyan oil tanker bombards Greek vessel near Derna port

GREECE: A Libyan oil tanker bombarded a Greek-operated oil tanker near a port in eastern Libya, that has led to two deaths and leaving greater threats to shipments coming from Greece which is Africa’s biggest crude reserves where violence is escalating.

The Araevo, flying a Liberian flag, was struck by a rocket during an airstrike on Jan. 4 in front of Derna port, killing two crew members and seriously injuring two others, according to an e-mailed statement yesterday from Libya’s state-run National Oil Corp. The attack didn’t result in a leak and the vessel is now in Tobruk port also in the east, Ilias Syrros, the safety manager for Aegean Shipping Enterprises Co., the Piraeus, Greece-based firm operating the tanker, said by phone.

Libya is split between the United Nations-recognized government of Abdullah al-Thinni in the east and Islamists who control Tripoli in the west. Al-Thinni’s forces bombed the ship after it failed to provide details on its itinerary, said Ahmad al-Mismari, a spokesman for the military. NOC said it told all appropriate authorities about the tanker’s movements.

“It’s clear that ports in the east of the country are extremely hazardous to shipping and owners and masters have to be extremely careful as to what arrangements they make,” Neil Roberts, the London-based senior executive at the Joint War Committee, an adviser to insurers, said by phone.

Brent crude added 18 cents to $53.29 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange at 12:27 p.m. Singapore time. Yesterday the global benchmark grade declined $3.31, or 5.9 percent, to $53.11, the lowest close since May 1, 2009.

Sailors Killed

One of the sailors who died was Greek and the other was Romanian, according to Aegean.

Militants set oil storage tanks on fire at the eastern port of Es Sider last month and the country pumped an average of 450,000 barrels a day of crude in December compared with as much as 1.78 million in 2008. Libya had about 48.47 billion barrels of unextracted oil reserves at the end of 2013, more than any other nation in Africa, according to data from BP Plc.

Araevo has a transportation capacity of 28,610 deadweight tons and is registered in Liberia, according to data from IHS Maritime. The ship is on a charter to Libya’s NOC and has operated without incident between Derna and Marsa El Brega for several years, Greece’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. It was hauling 12,600 tons of crude, Konstantinos Koutras, a spokesman for the ministry, said by phone.