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The following analysis was issued by Dryad Maritime on Friday 2nd October. The report illustrates the dynamic nature of the situation in Libya and its impact upon maritime trade.

On Thursday 01 October, Islamic State (IS) militants were reported to have attacked the oil port of As Sidr. The Islamist group conducted an assault with guns and an attempted car bomb. Militants attacked guards at a gate near the port, which remains under the control of forces allied with the internationally recognised House of Representatives (HoR) government in Tobruk. One guard died and two more were wounded in the initial attack.

The terminal at As Sidr, along with the nearby facility at Ras Lanuf, is currently under the control of the internationally recognised elected government, based in Tobruk. Due to fighting and instability in the area, both ports have remained closed for operations for nearly a year. Throughout these closures, the government has repeatedly expressed its wish to reopen the oil terminals for business. At full capacity, the two ports could produce over 600,000 barrels of oil per day, a huge boost to the country’s economy and enhancement of the fragile government’s reputation. Whilst it seems unlikely that at this stage militant groups have reformed in numbers large enough to take control of As Sidr, or neighbouring Ras Lanuf, this latest attack will be a setback to those wishes. Analysis on Friday 02 October revealed that there were no vessels moored or at anchor in or near the port of As Sidr.

Following this attack on the checkpoint, there is a moderate risk to vessels visiting the terminal, should it reopen. As with all ports and terminals in Libya, Dryad Maritime advises against any travel by crewmembers ashore in As Sidr as the risk of kidnap or murder of foreign nationals is high. Dryad recommends that personnel should not leave the confines of any port areas to avoid being inadvertently caught up in the countrywide fighting.

Dryad emphasises that the port of As Sidr remains closed for operations, as it has been since December 2014. Any vessels approaching Libya should proceed with extreme caution and be prepared to respond to any VHF calls or warnings from military forces. Vessels wishing to trade at any Libyan ports should send their arrival notices and await authorisation to visit in accordance with local port regulations. Due to the ongoing volatile nature of the situation in the country, a comprehensive risk assessment should be conducted to ensure the hazards of trading at any Libyan port are fully understood.

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]