A tanker used by Libya’s rival government based in the east to try to export oil returned to the country on Saturday after it was blacklisted by the United Nations, the state oil company said.
The eastern government’s oil company had hoped to sell the cargo of 650,000 barrels of oil but a United Nations measure prevented it from entering any port.
The Distya Ameya tanker left the Marsa el-Hariga port late on Monday and was blacklisted on Wednesday and then headed back to Zawiya port in western Libya.
This episode is a clear warning to all ship owners and trading companies that oil exports from Libya by any other entity than the National Oil Corporation of Libya are illegal and will be stopped.
A tanker with oil from eastern Libya returned to port with its cargo after the UN blacklisted the shipment https://t.co/jB9zchdgiW— Bloomberg (@business) May 1, 2016
The eastern-based government has set up its own National Oil Corporation (NOC) in parallel to the NOC run by the Tripoli-based administration.
The UN-backed unity government which arrived in Tripoli last month is trying to assert its authority over the country.
A statement from the Chairman of the NOC, Mustafa Sanalla said: “This episode is a clear warning to all ship owners and trading companies that oil exports from Libya by any other entity than the National Oil Corporation of Libya are illegal and will be stopped.”
Sanalla said the tanker would unload in the next few days.
Reuters however reports that a source from Zawiya said bad weather was preventing the vessel from discharging its crude for the moment.
Western powers fear any attempt by the eastern NOC to export crude independently would undermine the Tripoli administration and further fracture the country along regional lines, reports Reuters.
The eastern NOC claims legitimacy from the government and parliament based in eastern Libya, which received international recognition after armed opponents took control of Tripoli in 2014 and installed rival institutions there.
A U.N. Security Council resolution last month said the new unity government had the “primary responsibility” of preventing illicit oil sales, urging it to communicate any such attempts to the U.N. committee overseeing Libya-related sanctions.