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Libya authorises use of force to stop North Korean-flagged tanker from loading crude oil

Published on Mar 9, 2014 11:14 PM

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's Defence Ministry has authorised the military to use force to stop a North Korean-flagged tanker from loading crude oil at a rebel-held port, bypassing the Tripoli government, it said on Sunday.

The tanker docked on Saturday at the eastern terminal of Es Sider, one of three ports seized by rebels since August to press demands for autonomy and a bigger share of oil revenue. Local daily al-Wasat said the ship had loaded US$36 million (S$45.7 million) of crude.

The rebel oil sale illustrates the deepening turmoil in the OPEC producer, which has failed to rein in fighters who helped oust Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but who now defy state authority.

In Tripoli, workers at a state oil firm that runs Es Sider port went on strike, urging the government to intervene because their colleagues were under duress from armed protesters.

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