Unlikely humanitarians – shippers returning to Libya face a tough moral dilemma

A surge in Libyan oil exports — production has increased sharply in the past few months, jumping to four-year highs of over 1 million b/d this month — is seeing more and more oil tankers travel to and from the North African country’s key oil terminals, increasing tanker activity and pushing up freight rates in the Mediterranean. So far, so good for shipowners. But as more tankers call at Libyan ports, something which they were happy to avoid altogether less than a year ago, they can find themselves being drawn into the role of unlikely — and possibly begrudging — humanitarians. Increasingly they are receiving calls to assist unseaworthy vessels carrying migrants heading for Europe, shipping sources say. Under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) — which was first introduced after the sinking of the Titanic — all vessels have a legal obligation to respond to other vessels in distress. It is a somewhat incongruous image, an oil tanker teeming with rescued migrants, but it captures two of the big contemporary issues in the world – our reliance on oil and energy in general, and the profound economic struggles faced by some in this uncertain

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Source: CTRM Center

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