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Libya Turned Away Tanker Linked to Israel as War Protests Continue

November 16 ------ A large crude oil tanker registered in Singapore was reportedly turned away after a terminal operator in Libya determined that the vessel had made a previous call to offload cargo in Israel according to a report from Bloomberg. It is the latest in a series of reports of ships experiencing repercussions from the ongoing war in Gaza.

The Proteus Philippa, a 110,000 dwt crude oil tanker managed from Singapore, shows on its AIS that it was arriving at the Mellitah Anchorage west of Tripoli and near the border with Tunisia on November 7. The data shows it was coming from Italy and a bunkering stop in Malta. The vessel was scheduled to load 600,000 barrels of crude, but according to Bloomberg was asked by the Mellitah Oil & Gas Company to depart the port without loading its cargo.

The report says that the terminal operator had confirmed that the ship had made a previous port call to offload an earlier cargo in Haifa. Bloomberg tracked the vessel from Gabon in West Africa at the beginning of September and says that the tanker briefly signaled a destination of Haifa. Bloomberg calculates the ship offloaded a cargo in Haifa at the beginning of October. They report that it is not uncommon for vessels to stop their AIS transmissions while in the Israeli port.

Bloomberg believes that it was not an official state policy or decision from the Arab world to turn the vessel away. They quoted an unnamed official at the company confirming however that the tanker had been directed away from the terminal. This comes as reports are that Chinese state-owned shipping company Zhonggu Shipping directed its charter Kalypso Compagnia di Navigazione not to send two containerships into the Israeli port of Ashdod. Shipping Italy reports that it was due to safety concerns but that a legal dispute has emerged between the charter and shipowner. The Italian company told Shipping Italy that it had two of the Chinese-owned containerships sailing and proposed port calls in Haifa which were also rejected by the owner. The company said as much as a third of the containers aboard the vessels could be booked for Israel.

Last weekend, protestors sympathetic to the Palestinians attempted to block a containership as it was arriving at the Port Botany terminal near Sydney, Australia. People on jet skis crowded the harbor near the berth as the Contship Dax, an 1,100 TEU containership registered in Cyprus arrived. The vessel operates under charter to Zim which later issued a statement denying rumors that the vessel was carrying arms shipments. The company said their ship was on its normal route including Australia and New Zealand and carrying goods around Asia. The Australian protestors however were successful in delaying the ship from docking in Sydney. The ship however shows that it departed Botany on Sunday and will arrive in Melbourne at the end of the week.



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