Gard Club: Protective measures in all Libyan ports should be considered

While all Libyan ports, except for Sirte, are reported to be operational for internationally trading ships, Gard Club recommends assessing all port calls on a case-by-case basis and ensuring appropriate protective measures are incorporated into ship security plans.

Despite the ceasefire, Gard recommends Members and clients assess all port calls on a case-by-case basis and instruct their ships to continue to exercise caution when entering its ports and waters. For ships in transit, i.e. ships that are not bound for Libyan ports, Gard still recommends considering routes north of 34-00N to avoid any potential misidentification.

According to information received from Gard’s local correspondents in Libya, the port situation in Libya as of 24 May 2023 is reported to be as follows:

  • Working: Farwah, Bouri, Melittah, Zawia, Tripoli, Al Khoms, Misurata, Es Sider, Ras Lanuf, Marsa El Brega, Zueitina, Benghazi, Derna and Tobruk/Marsa El Hariga
  • Closed: Sirte


For ships calling at a Libya ports, or are otherwise required to operate closer to the Libyan coast, Gard recommends the following:

  • Adhere to the international laws of trading and follow the official sea navigation routes to any of the working Libyan ports. Proceed with caution south of 34-00N and liaise with the nearest coastal station to receive a safe track line.
  • Despite the Libyan port authority’s cancellation of the NSZ, avoid sailing in the zone when approaching the Eastern parts of Libya.
  • Declare the intended voyage and type of cargo to be discharged/loaded to the local agent well in advance of arrival at any Libyan port to allow the agent sufficient time to notify the appropriate authorities.
  • Stay in close contact with local port authorities, ship’s agent, or Gard’s local correspondent to obtain the most up to date and reliable information available at any given time.
  • As some flag administrations may require a heightened security level for ships trading to Libya, meaning that ships must implement additional protective measures in accordance with the formal Ship Security Plan (SSP), maintain contact with the ship’s flag administration in order to receive their most recent instructions available at any given time.

For tankers trading to this region, Gard correspondents recommend the following:

  • Tankers loading from Libyan ports must undertake all pre-checks and compliance measures to ensure the cargo intended to be loaded has been authorized by the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC). The NOC holds the sole rights and control of all oil exports from the country.
  • Operators contracting ships for voyages to Libya must request a certificate of origin from the charterers indicating that the shippers are indeed the NOC or an approved legal entity of the NOC.
  • Charterers should establish the authenticity of cargo interests and whether they can rightfully ship oil cargoes from Libya. The shippers should be able to provide a letter or document to prove that they are authorized by the NOC to ship the cargo.
  • Upon completion of cargo operations and receipt of port clearance, tankers delivering fuel oil to Libya should sail directly out of Libyan waters. Any deviations or delays may be deemed suspicious by local authorities.

The US International Port Security Program

In accordance with its latest Port Security Advisory, the US Coast Guard (USCG) has determined that ports in Libya are not maintaining effective anti-terrorism measures.

Under the conditions of entry, affected vessels must:

  • implement measures as per the ship’s security plan equivalent to security level 2 while in port in Libya;
  • ensure that each access point to the ship is guarded and that the guards have total visibility of the exterior (both landside and waterside) of the vessel while it is in port in Libya;
  • attempt to execute a declaration of security while in port in Libya;
  • log all security actions in the ship’s security records; and
  • report the actions taken to the relevant Coast Guard captain of the port prior to arrival in US waters.

Any affected vessel that does not meet the stipulated conditions may be denied entry into the United States.

The complete list of ports considered to have ineffective antiterrorism measures along with the associated conditions of entry are included in the policy notices available on the US Coast Guard website: International Port Security Programs.


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