A ship from Turkey under a Jamaican flag heading to the port of Misrata in western Libya was reportedly intercepted by Khalifa Haftar’s forces. Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency (AA) has reported that the ship was carrying medication.
Led by Khalifa Haftar, the Libyan National Army (LNA) has announced that they have intercepted a ship from Turkey under a Jamaican flag heading to the port of Misrata in western Libya.
As reported by Reuters, LNA Spokesperson Ahmed al-Mismari has said that the commercial cargo ship, Mabrouka, had 17 crew, including nine citizens of Turkey, and containers that have not yet been inspected. LNA naval forces stopped it near the eastern port of Derna, according to al-Mismari.
While no official statement has been made about the issue by Turkey, the state-run Anadolu Agency (AA) has reported that the ship was carrying medicine. As reported by the AA, Turkey’s ship transporting medicine to Libya’s port of Misrata was detained by forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar.
Haftar’s forces detained the vessel and its 17 crew members, including nine citizens of Turkey, claiming they did not comply with instructions.
Ahmed Al-Mismari, Haftar’s spokesperson, has said on his social media account that the Jamaican-flagged commercial cargo ship Mebruka, whose owner is stated to be a citizen of Turkey, was caught by Haftar’s militia.
The militia has claimed that the ship entered a prohibited area and did not respond to calls and withdrew to the port of Ras al-Hilal.
Al-Mismari has added that the ship was “investigated and inspected because it violated maritime rules and laws.”
He has also told the Al-Hadath television channel that the ship was loaded with drugs to be taken to Misrata but entered the forbidden area.
Claiming they made a call to the ship but did not receive a response, Mismari has said, “We approached the ship with boats and boarded it.”
The captain did not follow the procedures and the ship entered the prohibited area without permission, LNA Spokesperson Mismari has said, adding that there were no weapons on board.
According to information obtained by AA, the crew are in good condition. As reported further by the agency, sources have said the procedure has been applied to other ships in the region but no ships have been seized and a penalty was foreseen for entering the wrong area.
The envoys of the European Union (EU), Italy and Germany in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara were previously summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the wake of the search of a Turkey-flagged ship by a EU naval mission on November 22.
Turkey gave them a diplomatic note on the search of the MV Roseline A cargo ship under Operation Irini, a European mission launched earlier this year to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya.