by Linda Straker
- Grenada flagged ship with a Turkish crew seized off Libyan coast
- Ports Authority not yet notified of registration number nor name of ship
A Grenada Ports Authority (GPA) official said that the island is yet to be notified of the seizure of a Grenada flagged ship with a Turkish crew off the Libyan coast, as is being reported in numerous international news outlets.
Last Saturday, Haftar’s Libyan National Army navy combat vessel stopped the Grenada-flagged ship off the coast of the eastern city of Derna. The ship was then towed to Ras El Hilal port “for inspection and to verify its cargo,” Reuters news agency said.
Port Manager, Ian Evans, explained that the standard practice is for the flagged country to be notified whenever another country detained a vessel, but as of Monday, 23 December, Grenada had not received such notification. “Whenever a ship or vessel is seized, it is mandatory that the country where the ship is registered receives notification along with information explaining the reason for seizure, but we have not received such a notice.”
He further explained that Grenada has restrictions for registering ships. The policy mandates that any ship registering in Grenada must be owned by a Grenadian individual or registered corporate body. The courtesy is also extended to both individual and corporate citizens of other Caricom members.
Euronews, in an online publication, said that the capture of the vessel off the Libyan coast came amid rising tensions with Turkey. Neither the registration number nor the name of the ship is being made public.
Turkey’s parliament last Saturday approved a security and military cooperation deal with Libya, which could pave the way for Ankara to intervene to assist the Tripoli-based government in its ongoing battle with Haftar’s Libyan National Army.
Libyan Military Commander, Khalifa Haftar’s forces said they seized the ship with a Turkish crew, hours after Turkey’s parliament approved a defence pact in support of his rival in the North African country’s civil war.
Pirates are known to engage in the illegal act of claiming that its ship is registered in a country by flying its flag. Because the captured vessel is not publicly named, the GPA is unable to confirm if it is indeed among the ships registered in Grenada.
UPDATE: The ship has been released. The vessel was seized because it entered Libya’s territorial waters without prior permission.
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