EU targets foreign transport operators for violating Libyan arms embargo

by Brooks Tigner

The European Union has imposed sanctions on three entities for failing to uphold the UN’s embargo on arms shipments to Libya.

The EU on 21 September imposed sanctions on three entities for violating the UN arms embargo on Libya. (Getty Images)

The EU on 21 September imposed sanctions on three entities for violating the UN arms embargo on Libya. (Getty Images)

“This was a strategic use of our policy instruments,” Josep Borrell, the EU’s security and defence policy chief, told reporters after the decision.

Meeting in Brussels on 21 September, EU foreign ministers unanimously agreed to impose sanctions, effective immediately, on three entities found to have violated the arms embargo. The first is Avrasya Shipping, a Turkish maritime company based in Samsun that operates the cargo vessel Cirkin, which has been linked to transporting military materiel to Libya in May and June 2020.

The second operator sanctioned is Med Wave Shipping, a maritime company with offices in Amman and Beirut. As the operator of the cargo vessel Bana, Med Wave has been linked to transporting military materiel to Libya in January 2020.

The final targeted entity is Sigma Airlines, an air cargo company based in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Also known as Sigma Aviation, its aircraft were found to have transferred military materiel to Libya, although when the transgressions took place was not specified.

The EU’s sanctions freeze any of the entities’ financial assets within its jurisdiction and forbids them access to any of the union’s points of entry.

Borrell said the decision fits into the EU’s wider strategy of supporting Libya and in particular the recent ceasefire between the country’s opposing military factions. Borrell travelled to Tripoli on 1 September, where he held talks with Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of Libya’s UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) after the latter’s announcement of the ceasefire.

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The European Union has imposed sanctions on three entities for failing to uphold the UN’s embargo on...

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