The Libyan National Army (LNA) has imposed a naval blockade on all ports controlled by the Government of National Accord (GNA) in the western part of the country.
An official statement released by the LNA’s media office on May 20 revealed that the decision to impose a naval blockade on the western ports was taken by the army’s Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
“In accordance with the decision of the General Commander of the army Khalifa Haftar to cut the supplies from the militias in the western region, the Chief of Staff of the Navy, Major General Faraj Mahdavi placed the entire naval forces on high-alert and declared a complete naval blockade on all ports in the western region,” the statement reads.
The decision was a direct response to the recent Turkish arms shipment to pro-GNA forces. The shipment, which included over 20 modern armored vehicles, was transported from the Turkish port Samsun to Libya’s capital, Tripoli, aboard a Moldavia-flagged ship named “AMAZON.”
The LNA’s Navy vowed to strike any ship that would attempt to violate the blockade with an “iron fist.”
Libya’s naval forces were largely destroyed as a result of the 2011 NATO-led military intervention. However, the LNA managed to restore several small boats into service recently. The army also acquired “LÉ Aisling” offshore patrol vessel from the Irish Naval Service through a UAE-based shell company.
The LNA’s naval blockade, if it’s successfully implemented, will complicate the situation for GNA forces, which are in a complicated situation south of Tripoli.