Coast guard arrests two tankers on suspicion of fuel smuggling.

The Libyan coastguard has arrested two tankers suspected of smuggling petroleum products following a gun battle which erupted when the vessels refused coastguard orders to stop and be boarded.

“The clashes lasted for three hours, but the two tankers were successfully seized,” said to Qassem Ayoub Qasim, the Libya navy spokesman.

The tankers were seized yesterday off Zuwara, 120 kilometers west of Tripoli.  No one is said to have been hurt in the shooting.

According to Qasim, one of the tankers is the Ukrainian-flagged Ruta while the other, the Stark, is from an African country. He did not name the country, however an oil tanker of the same name is registered in the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to, both tankers had sailed from Turkey and were heading to Malta.