The Address | Benghazi – Libya
TRIPOLI – Tension escalated at sea between Libya and Italy over the seizure of fishing boats last night, Italian newspaper Il Giornale reported on Saturday.
The Libyan Coast Guard, around midnight, intercepted nine Italian fishing boats, prompting an intervention by the Italian Navy which eventually recovered the boats.
According to Il Giornale, this “naval battle” is at the center of an ancient quarrel over the waters of the Gulf of Sirte, which Libya considers it to be its own territorial waters while Italy claims it’s international waters.
When the Libyan Coast Guard approached the fishing ships, two Italian patrol boats – who were checking that stretch of sea – headed to the side of the nine fishing boats and put them under their protection.
According to French newspaper La Presse, the Italian Navy escorted the fishing boats to “safe waters” and is now conducting an investigation into the incident.