Shipping in Libya

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Libya's total shipping capacity as of March 2009 was 11.8 million barrels.[1] Libya had US $34 billion in net oil export revenues (nominal) and $31 billion (real) in 2009.[2] and its total petroleum exports were were valued at $41.87 billion in 2010.[3]

General National Maritime Transport Company (GNMTC)

The GNMTC is a state-owned owned company founded in 1975 with initial capitalisation of US $340m.[4] In 2011 the official website listed 15 vessels in its fleet, although according to the Petroleum Economist the number is often thought to be 22.[5]

EU sanctions and NATO activity in the Mediterranean severely disrupted GNMTC's ability to ply its normal trading routes. In mid-2011, there was media speculation that Hannibal Gaddafi, the fourth son of deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi, was trying to sell off a fleet of GNMTC oil tankers, first to companies based in Hong Kong and Singapore in July, then to Russian investors in August. This was an effort to settle debts and increase cash flow for the regime's war effort. There were no sanctions placed on GNMTC, but because Hannibal himself was blacklisted, any transaction resulting in economic benefit to the Gaddafi regime would have broken the terms of the sanctions.[6]

However in late 2011 board member Captain Tarek Youssef Said said that operations were being resumed and the company was shedding its links with the Gaddafi family. But lost business due to sanctions and the cost of stranded vessels had a negative impact on the year's profits.

As of 2011 the GNMTC was operating as the shipping arm of the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC). There were no changes made to the board of directors at the company following the revolution, with Chairman Captain Ali Belhaj still at his post as of November 2011.[7]

Libyan shipping under Gaddafi

According to leaked US diplomatic cables, there has historically been a close integration of public and private interests in Libya's shipping industry, and until the 2011 war the Gaddafi family held a near-monopoly on this sector. The cables explain that Hannibal al-Gaddafi owned and controlled the nominally private shipping company Mariner for Maritime Transportation Ltd. Those sources reported that Hannibal also has a controlling stake in the state-owned General National Maritime Transport Company (GNMTC). Hannibal's exact role in GNMTC is unclear, with some sources describing him as a consultant and others indicating that he played a key management role in the company.

Mariner, established in 2000, has three primary areas of operation: shipping management, offshore oil/gas platform support, and refined oil product transportation from Libya to foreign ports. As of August 2008, Mariner had virtually no competition within Libya, providing up to 75 percent of the Libyan National Oil Corporation's requirements for transporting "clean" (refined) products to foreign markets. With its political connections, Mariner enjoyed high-level government support, having received financial support from the National Oil Corporation (NOC) at least as recently as late 2006, according to a source at the National Engineering and Supply Services Company (NESSCO).[8]

The decision by GNMTC to halt all oil shipments to Switzerland immediately after Hannibal's arrest there in 2008 sheds light on the extent of Hannibal's influence in the company. According to the cables, opposition websites also document instances in which Hannibal used his influence over the GNMTC to broker the purchase of new vessels, through which he has gained millions in personal profit.[9]

External Links

GNMTC official website:


  1. "Libya Commercial Round-up For February 2009" Wikileaks 14 March 2009.
  2. "OPEC Revenues Fact Sheet" Energy Information Administration.
  3. "Libya facts and figures" OPEC, retrieved 8 October 2011.
  4. "The Company" GNMTC, retrieved 31 January 2013.
  5. "The Company" GNMTC, retrieved 31 January 2013.
  6. "Exclusive: Qadhafi talks oil-tanker sales with Russians" Petroleum Economist, 8 August 2011.
  7. "Libyan tankers sailing again after war and sanctions; Qaddafi-era vessel ‘Aisha’ renamed ‘February 17’" al-Arabiya, 25 November 2011.
  8. "Hannibal Goes To Sea: Insights Into Another Al-qadhafi Family Business" Wikileaks, 12 August 2008.
  9. "Hannibal Goes To Sea: Insights Into Another Al-qadhafi Family Business" Wikileaks, 12 August 2008.