The ship had sailed from the port of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates and was heading to Benghazi in Libya, the EU military mission said, adding that its cargo of fuel was "likely to be used for military purposes".

A boarding team board the Merchant Vessel Royal Diamond 7, in international waters, 150 kilometers north of the Libyan city of Derna, on September 10, 2020.
A boarding team board the Merchant Vessel Royal Diamond 7, in international waters, 150 kilometers north of the Libyan city of Derna, on September 10, 2020. (AP)

The European Union maritime force enforcing the UN arms embargo on Libya has intercepted and redirected a tanker headed for Libya after determining it was carrying jet fuel in possible violation of the ban.

The MV Royal Diamond 7 was en route Thursday from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, to Benghazi, Libya, when members of the EU force’s Operation Irini boarded the ship 150 kilometres north of the Libyan city of Derna, the EU force said on Thursday.

Just this week, UN experts accused the warring parties in Libya and their international backers — including the UAE, Russia and Jordan on one side, and Turkey and Qatar on the other — of sending weapons and mercenaries to Libya in violation of the “totally ineffective” UN embargo.

A statement from the EU mission said its inspection aboard the Marshall Islands-flagged MV Royal Diamond 7 determined the cargo was jet fuel, which it said was “likely” to be used for military purposes.

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Military material

The mission noted that jet fuel is considered military material by the UN, which has authorized the EU force to seize weapons and halt weapons-transporting ships bound for Libya.

The mission said it was redirecting the tanker to a European port for further investigation.

Libya has been split since 2014 between areas controlled by the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and territory held by warlord Khalifa Haftar's illegal militias, based in Benghazi.

The UAE, Egypt and Russia back Haftar, who has suffered a string of military reverses this year.

The UN Security Council has imposed an embargo on arms to stop the military confrontation and facilitate the peace process in the country. 

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies