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An Italian tug “hacked” in the port of Tripoli (Maj)

(credit: Augusta offshore)

An Italian tugboat preparing to disembark people who worked for the Libyan oil company NOC was blocked by armed men in the port of Tripoli, according to Italian news agencies. The events happened on Saturday afternoon, around 17 p.m. (before the first French strikes). Armed men, including one who identified himself as the port commander, burst aboard theAce 22, which belongs to the Augusta Offshore company based in Naples. They arrested the crew — 8 Italians, 2 Indians and 1 Ukrainian — thus preventing the ship from leaving. This act – if it is confirmed and is not followed by a quick release – could mean that Gaddafi begins to follow through on his threats to use the Mediterranean as a “battlefield“. And that he is determined to use all possible means of pressure and blackmail, including what can be compared to piracy.

(Updated 20 p.m.) The crew was released. And the ship was able to leave the port of Tripoli, according to the Ansa agency, towards an oil platform. The only unknown: the armed men could still be on board.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).