The UN has announced the official Libyan Government is heading towards bankruptcy. As a result civil servants, over 50% of the country’s employed workforce, have not been paid for 2 months. If police and military services start to strike, this will only increase the chaos engulfing the country and allow ISIL to make further progress.
In addition, the majority of oil and gas installations are government owned and run so ports may close due to strikes. A bulker berthed at Ras Lanuf’s non-oil port to discharge cement but found the port closed with NOC, Libya’s National Oil Company, declaring force majeure. NOC also stated that there would be no oil exports from Ras Lanuf or the neighbouring Es Sider Oil Port.
ISIL have consolidated their position in Sirte and appear to be heading west towards the Port of Misrata. Misrata is currently held by the Libyan Dawn, based in Tripoli. They are calling for a united effort to assist in preventing ISIL from making progress through the country.
Gerry Northwood OBE, COO of leading maritime security company MAST, said: “Any port that is ISIL held might be subject to aerial bombing by the Tobruk Government. Therefore, we strongly advise that prior to entering a Libyan port a full risk assessment be conducted. It is also necessary to maintain a good watch on the commercial status of the port, as closures can occur at short or no notice.”
With no sign of any party wishing to compromise any further, cease-fires are unlikely in the near future. The fighting continues unabated with the Saudi led coalition bombing Houthi assets throughout the country. The UN estimates that around 2,000 people have been killed and another 8,000 wounded.
A UN chartered ship due to deliver aid into Aden was shelled as it approached the port. Although the vessel was not hit, it was forced to turn back – local sources blamed Houthi forces for the action. The naval base in the Port of Hodeidah has also been targeted by the Saudi coalition.
Northwood said: “Yemeni ports are becoming increasingly dangerous, especially Aden, where Houthi Rebels may wish to prevent aid from reaching the pro-Government Forces holding the port. There is a high risk of Saudi coalition bombing in Hodeidah. Even if entry is cleared by the coalition, we believe the risk of collateral damage cannot be discounted and the safety of vessels is not therefore guaranteed.”