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Libya Detains Russian Tanker 11 Miles Off Coast

A new press release from the Russian Foreign Ministry indicated that officials have been attempting to determine the circumstances that led to the detention of an oil tanker that held a Russian crew.

The Libyan Navy apprehended the 5,227 metric ton capacity tanker 11 miles off the coast of the Abu Kamash district, according to Sputnik News.

"The embassy staff, which is temporarily based in Tunis, is trying to quickly clarify the circumstances of the incident," the ministry said in a statement, referring to Beliz-flagged Temeteron tanker.

Five Russians and several Ukrainian and Greek citizens had also been on the ship.

Two major oil tankers left the Libyan port Al-Hariga on Wednesday carrying almost 1.5 million barrels of oil, according to a report by The Libya Prospect citing the National Oil Corporation based in Tripoli.

Related: Is Wall Street Right About Electric Utility Stocks?

Al-Hariga reopened just over a month ago, allowing Libya to up oil output to 300,000 barrels per day.

The eastern port of Hariga had been under a three-week blockade over rival government wrangling, sending exports down to 200,000 bpd. On 19 May, the first shipment of 650,000 barrels was being loaded for Glencore, en route to the United Kingdom, according to Bloomberg.

Production had been blocked from the eastern oilfields of Messla and Sarir.

Before the ouster of Gaddafi in 2011, Libya was producing 1.6 million bpd. Factions loyal to the eastern government in Tobruk, and the parallel National Oil Company in Benghazi, have been in control of the Hariga port, which has been under blockade since the Benghazi NOC unsuccessfully attempted to unilaterally export oil late last month

Last month, after talks in Vienna, the rival NOCs reached an agreement in principle to resume shipments at talks held in Vienna. This deal has now apparently been implemented, allowing for the first shipment to be loaded; however, the details of the deal have not been made public, which also means that beyond this first shipment, it remains unclear whether the status of the port has been resolved.

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By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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