The Araevo oil tanker. Image courtesy of Aegean Shipping Enterprises.

A Greek operated oil tanker anchored in offshore Libya was attacked by a government warplane Sunday, leaving two crewmen dead and two others injured.

The Liberian flagged Araveo was carrying 12,600 tons of crude and was anchored off the eastern port of Derna when a warplane flown by fighters loyal to Libya’s internationally recognized government launched an attack, Reuters said.

No spills were reported and the damage to the ship is currently being assessed.

The Araveo is operated by Greece-based Aegean Shipping Enterprises and was under charter by Libya’s National Oil Company.

Libya’s government claimed the vessel was transporting Islamic militants to Derna and said the ship had been warned to not enter the port.

“The ports of Derna and Benghazi were closed, and we have cautioned all oil tankers not to get close to these ports,” Libya’s General Chief of Staff spokesman Ahmed Bu Zayad Al-Mismari said.

The Greek government called the attack “unproved and cowardly” and said it will take “all the necessary actions” to identify the attackers.

The Araveo attack is just the latest incident in an ongoing struggle between Libya’s two competing governments as they fight for control over the country’s oil resources.

Fighting between rival factions in Libya has slashed output at the country’s Es Sider and Ras Lanuf oil ports to 380,000 barrels per day from 1.6 million barrels per day in 2011.

On December 25, six oil storage tanks at the Es Sider oil port caught fire after a rocket attack was launched by supporters of self-proclaimed prime minister Omar al-Hassi.

The attack was the group’s second attempt to take over the oil port in less than two weeks.


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