No need for alarm, after Transport Malta issues Libya warning to sailors

Transport Malta message urges vessels navigating beyond 50 nautical miles south of Malta to be on the alert, as armed vessels could pose a risk.

File photo shows AFM patrol boat
File photo shows AFM patrol boat

A security message has been issued by the Maltese maritime authorities warning mariners of dangerous “armed vessels” roaming south of the island.

The message – not intended to alarm sailors and fishermen but to increase vigilance – was issued by Transport Malta on the back of reports that smugglers had fired warning shots at an Italian tug boat last week.

The message urges vessels navigating beyond 50 nautical miles south of Malta to be on the alert, as armed vessels could pose a risk.

Transport Malta said the warning applies only to those who venture close to the coast of Libya.

“There is no need for unnecessary alarm.  The situation next to the coast of Libya has been unstable for a long time. Nato urges vessels to conduct a thorough risk assessment before travelling through this area and ‘to do so expeditiously and with increased vigilance’. The message was reiterated in Malta following last week’s incident where an Italian vessel was seized off the coast of Libya.”

The Malta Hydrographic Office within Transport Malta promulgated this Maritime Safety Information in line with its international obligations under SOLAS. The Hydrographic Office has the obligation to relay such messages.

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