Libyan unrest leads to total port closures

 23 Feb 2011 04.22pm

  • Civil unrest in Libya leads to total port closures

  • CGM cancels operations and oil firms halt output

The civil unrest in the North African state of Libya has caused the total closure of all ports and terminals in the country. Some oil shipments were able to leave the country this morning without incident, however.

Operations at Libyan oil ports are suspended; however, Bloomberg reports that a tanker loaded 600,000 barrels of crude at two Libyan ports and set sail at 1am local time today, suggesting supply is still flowing from Africa’s third-biggest producer.

The Seabravery, chartered by the Greek shipping line, Thenamiris, made stops at the ports of Zawia and Es Sider to obtain oil.

A force majeure has been called on all oil-product exports, a legal clause allowing companies to miss contractual obligations because of circumstances beyond their control, Reuters reported yesterday.

France's major shipping group CMA CGM said in a statement,  "Due to a general insurrection in some Libyan cities since last week, all ports and terminals are temporarily closed," adding that the company "is following with great concern the events" in Libya.

These concerns are justified as the company still has two of its ships in Libyan waters, including one off Tripoli.

The unrest has also caused crude prices to remain at a two-and-a-half-year high, as two more oil firms halted output in Libya and a pipeline bringing Libyan natural gas to Italy was closed on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

The 40-year rule of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is under threat amid growing protest throughout Libya.

  Carriers, Port Planning