Italian tug with 2 Indians seized by Libya in Tripoli port
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Last Updated: Wednesday, March 23, 2011, 00:08
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.


First Published: Wednesday, March 23, 2011, 00:08

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