Italian tug with 2 Indians seized by Libya in Tripoli port

An Italian-owned tugboat occupied by armed Libyan military officers has docked in the port of Tripoli.

Last Updated: Mar 23, 2011, 00:08 AM IST

Rome: An Italian-owned tugboat occupied by
armed Libyan military officers has docked in the port of
Tripoli, and the crew members, including two Indians, are
fine, Italy`s government and the ship owner said on Tuesday.

The Asso 22 docked this morning, the ship owner,
Naples-based Augusta Offshore SrL, said in a statement. It
said the crew -- eight Italians, two Indians and a Ukrainian
-- were allowed to call their families.

Augusta says, however, that the case "cannot be
considered closed."

Italy`s Foreign Ministry confirmed the ship was now in
the Libyan capital but said it would not give details of its
efforts to win the release of the personnel, citing a "very
difficult context."

The ship had been on a "zigzagging" path off the
Libyan coast.

Tripoli port officials boarded the vessel Friday and
Saturday after it docked, asking to photograph its equipment,
and that armed Libyan military officers boarded Sunday,
Augusta said.

The tug, rented by Italian energy giant Eni, normally
services oil platforms off the Libyan coast.

It wasn`t clear if the seizure amounted to Libyan
retaliation for Italy`s participation in enforcing the
UN-mandated no-fly zone over Libya.

Italy, Libya`s former colonial ruler, has allowed
seven bases to be used by coalition aircraft and also has
offered eight of its own jets for use in missions.

PTI