Dryad Maritime Incident Report: Libya port of Zueitina attacked, 9th January

The following analysis was issued by Dryad Maritime on Monday 11th January. The report illustrates the continuing dangers from the conflict in Libya and its impact upon maritime trade.

A spokesman for Libya’s Petroleum Facilities Guard has confirmed that three boats attempted to attack the oil port of Zueitina on Sunday 9th January. The spokesman stated that his guards had repelled the attack before any of the craft managed to enter the port itself, leaving one of the boats ablaze. It is believed that the raid was instigated by militants allied to Islamic State (IS) forces.

Islamic State forces launched land based attacks on the oil terminals of As Sidr and Ras Lanuf, some 90 NM to the west of Zuetina between 4th – 6th January. The clashes left 18 guards dead and more than 50 injured as IS rockets caused fires at seven oil storage tanks at those terminals, the fires were later extinguished. IS control a large area of coastline to the east of Sirte, and it is possible that this latest attack, conducted from the sea, was initially launched from the coast to the east of As Sidr. The use of the maritime environment to facilitate attacks ashore is consistent with earlier assessments of anticipated IS activity in Libya. It is likely that IS will continue to carry out attacks along the coast to further its ambitions in Libya, but at this stage there is no evidence that this intent will extend to attacking vessels offshore.

The recent Islamic State forces’ raids on Ras Lanuf’s and As Sidr’s facilities highlight the threat that IS now poses especially to the east of their stronghold in Sirte. Dryad judges that as a result, the threat to commercial shipping and mariners near Ras Lanuf, As Sidr and Zuetina is now HIGH. Until the Libyan military, possibly with assistance from an international coalition of forces, can control this area, further attacks by Jihadists against port oil facilities are likely. Dryad reiterates that all three ports are currently closed for trade and will continue to report on the situation in Libya in the weekly Libya Port Risk Assessment. All shipping companies wishing to operate in Libya should only do so after receiving a comprehensive risk assessment to fully understand the potential threats to their crew and vessel.


The above report was issued as part of Dryad Maritime’s continued incident and alerts service in support of the weekly updated Libyan multi-port risk assessment. Containing both regional and individual port information, the report is aimed at raising awareness and mitigating the associated risks of trading in this Frontier Market.
To request the report in full, or for more information email [email protected]