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LNA Deploys Warship In Key Oil Port, As Battle Around Tripoli Heats Up

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LNA Deploys Warship In Key Oil Port, As Battle Around Tripoli Heats Up

al-Karama offshore patrol vessel. Source: Libyan National Army media office.

As the battle of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, enters its third week, the Libyan Navy deployed al-Karama offshore patrol vessel in Ras Lanuf, one of the biggest oil export ports in the country.

The deployment was announced by Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Mesmari, a spokesman for the Libyan National Army (LNA), in the afternoon of April 27. The spokesman said that the warship was deployed in Ras Lanuf as a part of a “training mission” aimed at securing key oil ports.

However, the Reuters news agency reported that the warship was deployed to secure Ras Lanuf following rumors claiming that a foreign warship was spotted near the Libyan coast.

Al-Karama was known as LÉ Aisling during its service in the Irish Naval Service from 1980 to 2016. Two years after its withdrawal from active service, the warship was reportedly sold to the LNA’s navy through a shell company in the UAE. The warship is armed with a Bofors 40mm cannon and two Rheinmetall Rh202 20mm heavy machine guns.

A source told Reuters that the deployment of the warship didn’t affect the activities in Ras Lanuf. According the source, the port is exporting oil as usual.

The LNA controls all the Libyan oil fields and oil exporting ports. However, the oil trade is controlled by the National Oil Corporation stationed in Tripoli, which is held by the Government of National Accord (GNA). The army’s leadership likely hopes that the ongoing attack on Tripoli will change this situation.

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  • John Whitehot

    Haftar forces are so far failing to impress me.

    I’ve not followed enough the narrative to make some deductions on the overall situation, but after some initial rapid gains (in mostly open territory, which could also mean that the opposition simply has retreated in more defensible terrain) they were unable to overcome the first meaningful defense they met.

    Nonetheless, it seems strange to me that the LNG has put the liberation of Tripoli as their primary objective, being they aware of the quality of their forces and those of the enemy.

    Haftar should know very well that even if he has a certain superiority in firepower and also in the quality of his forces (discipline, experience) it’s not possible to take a city like Tripoli by urban fighting, without having a n unsurmountable advantage in firepower, both air and ground delivered.

    I’m pretty sure that something has changed at the diplomatical level, about the support to the “legitimate” government and the Haftar forces given by external forces (USA, France, UK, Italy etc), which triggered this campaign, but Haftar should be wary about any reassurement he could have gotten from westerners – because there is no reason to trust them in the slightest.

  • Dick Von Dast’Ard

    Why go for Tripoli when there are far easier conquests along the coastline first, that don’t stretch the supply lines, but do stretch the GNA?

    Furlongs.

    • Sinbad2

      Because that’s the seat of Government, if you want the crown you have to take it from the King’s severed head.
      Once you have the crown, the others will swear allegiance.

      • Dick Von Dast’Ard

        In a state versus state confrontation, I would agree with you, but what we are dealing with here is an internal inner conflict. If you make the King irrelevant, the country turns into a Republic by default.
        The Haftar LNA would be better chipping off at the edges, keeping Tripoli for the end game.

        • Sinbad2

          Republic, you mean like in America, where they rotate their Kings to give the people false hope?

          • Dick Von Dast’Ard

            Generals normally run Republics, in North Africa.
            Islamic Kings (Emirs) run Caliphates.

  • Sinbad2

    The ship has an interesting history, it was originally Irish Navy, a Dutch broker bought it for an undisclosed client in 2017 for $129k. It was sold to Libya in 2018 for $750k