The Libyan Coast Guard and Port Security released a video on their Facebook page that shows one of their patrol vessels shelling a tanker.
Text accompanying the video, posted 7 October, named the vessel as Goeast and said the Comoros-flagged tanker was carrying smuggled fuel.
“Through the monitoring and tracking of many vessels that smuggle fuel, a ship called Goeast, carrying the flag of the Comoros Islands, was observed three days ago and entered the Bukhamash area and began to carry the smuggled fuel through a pipe 2 km away.”
The post pinpointed the time of the incident as 6 October, around 6:30 pm local time, and said the coast guard patrol approached the tanker and attempted to initiate radio contact with Goeast crew. The post claimed tanker crew did not respond to “repeated calls by the coast guard patrol to surrender and obey the instructions of the patrol.”
The patrol boat then opened fire with shells of “(30 mm), resulting in the direct impact of the fuel tanks and engine compartment, which caused holes in the hull (specifically fuel storage),” the post said.
Libyan navy and coast guard spokesman Ayoub Gassem told the Libya Herald the tanker’s engineroom and fuel tanks were hit. He said Goeast was seen to be listing and the video shows liquid flowing from holes in the vessel’s side into the sea, following the encounter and that the action was meant to send a clear “message” to smugglers.
The coast guard post also stated that the Libyan patrol returned to port in Tripoli after holing the tanker. As yet unconfirmed reports have claimed the tanker sank and spilled oil. The fate of the crew on board is not known.
Goeast is listed as being owned by bunkering operator UVAS-TRANS Ltd, based in Kerch on the Crimean peninsula, a Russian-annexed territory within Ukraine.
The last AIS transmission from Goeast, recorded on 26 September, shows the vessel at anchor off the coast of Malta.