The ship is reported to have been flying a Jamaican flag, and only half of the crewmen were Turkish; Haftar’s spokesman claimed the ship was stopped “because it violated maritime rules and laws.”
A Turkish cargo ship was intercepted by the forces of Libyan National Army (LNA) leader, Khalifa Haftar, on Tuesday. The seizure of the vessel took place after it was spotted in the Mediterranean Sea flying a Jamaican flag and entering contested waters. Upon initial inspection, it was revealed that only 9 of the 17 crewmen were Turkish nationals. The rest were mostly Indian, and there was one Azerbaijani on board.
Upon halting the vessel, passports are reported to have been inspected, and the ship was searched for weaponry and other items.
Haftar’s spokesman, Ahmed Al-Mismari, claimed that the ship failed to respond to calls from Libyan forces, and stated that it was “investigated and inspected because it violated maritime rules and laws.” Mismari said that the inspection revealed there were no weapons on board. However, the ship was loaded with drugs and was making its way to Misrata.
The Libyan Civil War began 2014 and consists of Haftar and his regime (LNA) and those they oppose – the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), led by Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. Turkey is one of the primary backers of the GNA. The two sides signed a ceasefire in October. However, a final resolution to the conflict is yet to take place.