Rebels seize Libyan state-owned gasoline tanker

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 22, 2011 12:39 PM
Rebels seize Libyan state-owned gasoline tanker

LONDON (Reuters) - A Libyan state-owned gasoline tanker has been seized by rebels in a move that traders said is likely to act as a further deterrent to trading with the torn state, trade sources said on Friday.

They said the tanker was hijacked while carrying gasoline to the country for the National Oil Corporation.

"It is likely to deter further dealing in fuels," said a trader with a European refiner on Friday.

One source said the gasoline cargo might have been supplied by Motor Oil Hellas, Greece's second-biggest refiner. The company could not immediately be reached for comment.

With the destruction of some oil infrastructure in Libya and the partial closure of refineries in the areas of heaviest fighting, both the rebels and Muammar Gaddafi's forces are eager to secure fuel supplies.

Trade with Libya has been dramatically curtailed since the country descended into armed rebellion and U.S. sanctions were applied.

"Nobody can lift oil from Libya," said one trade source. "All ports in the east are closed. Loading from the west is difficult too ... It's too dangerous to do business in Libya now."

(Reporting by Jessica Donati and Emma Farge; Additional reporting by Ikuko Kurahone; Writing by Claire Milhench, editing by Jane Baird)