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Tanker with Libyan rebel oil slips naval escort

Published on Mar 11, 2014 6:48 PM

TRIPOLI (AFP) - A North Korean-flagged tanker carrying an "illegal" cargo of oil from a rebel-held port in eastern Libya on Tuesday escaped navy ships that were escorting it, a Member of Parliament said.

"The oil tanker took advantage of poor weather conditions to head for the open sea. The ships that were surrounding it were not in a position to follow it," said a member of the General National Congress, the country's highest political authority.

If confirmed, the news would be a huge embarrassment for the government after top officials including Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said late on Monday the navy had seized the tanker and would escort it to a harbour controlled by Tripoli.

The tanker had docked on Saturday at Es Sider, one of three ports controlled by rebels who want to sell oil independently to get a greater share of Libya’s mineral wealth.

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