Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Oil tanker leaves Libyan rebel held port - sources

* Tanker departs from rebel held port destined for Asia
* Mystery still surrounds potential buyer
By Jonathan Saul and Humeyra Pamuk

LONDON/ISTANBUL, (Reuters) - A tanker sailed from an east Libyan port on Wednesday, believed to be carrying the first oil shipment from rebel-held territory, shipping sources said, but the potential buyer's identity remained unknown.

AIS live ship tracking data on Reuters showed the Liberian-registered tanker Equator, which can carry up to one million barrels of oil, was moving into the Mediterranean Sea away from the eastern port of Tobruk with its destination registered as Singapore.

"The vessel loaded, the intended destination is Singapore," a shipping source said. "It will probably end up in China."

The expected shipment will be the first in weeks since an uprising against Muammar Gaddafi halted exports, although it was unclear who had hired the vessel. Other trade and shipping sources said the cargo could be destined for China.

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