Malta Refuses Entry to Tanker Carrying Libyan Crude
On Monday, maritime officials in Malta refused entry to the oil tanker Distya Ameya. The vessel is loaded with 650,000 barrels of crude from eastern Libya, and had been headed to Malta for delivery.
In addition to forbidding entry, port authorities instructed agents to refuse "all requests" by the vessel.
No AIS transmission has been received by public vessel-tracking services since April 21, when the Ameya was headed for the coast of Libya. Maltese authorities said Tuesday that they had had no contact with the vessel, and that she would not be permitted to enter Maltese waters.
The shipment on the Ameya is the first recently attempted by the government based in Tobruk, eastern Libya. Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) split in two following the separation of the nation's government into a internationally recognized ruling body in the east and an Islamist government in the west.
Each side has repeatedly warned oil traders and tanker operators not to do business with the other. NOC's executives are said to be working towards reunification of the company's operations in advance of the next OPEC summit; their respective governments are also attempting to reach an accord with assistance from international mediators.
Thanks to the dispute and to a running conflict with armed militias and terrorists, Libya's oil output has fallen drastically from its level under Moammar Al-Qaddafi's rule. It is now the smallest producer in OPEC.
The Ameya's registered owner is Arya Ship Charterers, and she is managed by Elektrans Shipping of Mumbai. Media suggest that the oil shipment was to be sold to DSA Consultancy FZC of the U.A.E.