Posted on December 28, 2018 by Ilias Kiritsis
Armed militants boarded the Libyan-flagged crude oil tanker, BADR, while it was anchored off Burgas, Bulgaria, and forced its crew to disembark the vessel, in the afternoon of December the 22nd.
Allegedly, the men, who claimed to be part of Bulgarian coastguard authorities, assaulted the captain and threatened the crew with violence.
The Libyan tanker, which is owned by the General National Maritime Transport Company of Libya (GNMTC), has been detained since November in the port of Burgas over an alleged unpaid mortgage, but the company claims that the mortgage itself is fraudulent, and suspects criminal misconduct.
“The vessel’s communication/AIS system were immediately cut, meaning that neither the vessel’s owners not any legitimate authority can now contact or track the whereabouts of the ship. This is not only a criminal act, but also a flagrant violation of all international laws. We are in contact with local and international organisations and authorities in order to put an end to the blatant violation done by the Bulgarian authorities” said in a statement, GNMT’s insurance and risk manager, Mr. Mohamed Elahresh.
The Greek notary who executed the mortgage in question has filed a lawsuit, claiming that she had been deceived and that the mortgage documents were falsified.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court in Burgas has ruled in favour of releasing the vessel, but Bulgarian authorities have not allowed the ship to sail back to Libya.
Since the incident, the crew of the BADR has been replaced with Bulgarian nationals, and attempts are underway to sell the vessel.