Russian diplomats trying to secure release of crew of tanker held in Libya

The Russian Embassy to Libya is taking steps to secure the release of the crew of the Mekhanik Chebotaryov oil tanker which was detained by the Libyan military yesterday.

The Russian Embassy to Libya is taking steps to secure the release of the crew of the Mekhanik Chebotaryov oil tanker which was detained by the Libyan military.

"The Embassy is taking concrete steps to free the crew. The effort is underway. We are not sitting idly," Russian Ambassador to Libya Ivan Molotkov told Interfax by telephone on Sept.18.

He said he cannot disclose what exactly the embassy is doing.

He added: "During the night the tanker was sent from Tripoli to Misurata, a port on Libya's Mediterranean coast - because the vessel was detained by the Misurata coastal guards."

It was reported on Sept.17 that the Russian tanker had been detained in Libya.

The incident occurred at 10:50 a.m. Moscow time, the tanker's owner Oil Marine Group said earlier. The tanker was stopped by a Libyan-flagged warship in international waters. The empty vessel had been on its way to the Libyan port of Zawiya. It had been expected to be loaded up while anchored at Zawiya or at the Tunisian port of Zarzis.

The vessel has a 12-member crew.

Having boarded the vessel, the Libyan military did not explain their reason for stopping it. They had two crew members board the warship and ordered the tanker's captain to follow them and switch off the automatic identification system.

The vessel was then escorted to and moored at the port of Tripoli. The entire crew had their documents and cell phones confiscated. All vessel documentation was also seized.

Read more: Russian tanker detained by Libyan authorities illegally>>>

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