The internationally-recognized Libyan government in Tobruk has warned countries not to enter its territorial waters without authorisation.
The warning comes after Libya bombed a Turkish-owned ship last weekend, killing the third captain and wounding several crew members. The ship flew the flag of the Cook Islands but is Turkish-owned and many of the crew were Turks. The government claimed in a statement: "The Turkish boat tried to enter Libyan territorial waters by force... ignoring international norms and maritime regulations." The rival Tripoli government called the Tobruk government's action "violent aggression" and claimed that the ship was in international waters, 13 nautical miles off Tobruk when the attack happened.
The UN Support Mission in Libya(UNSML) also condemned the attack . In a statement it said it regretted the loss of life and also called for a thorough investigation of the incident. The statement went on to urge that all military actions in Libya by either side be undertaken in a manner that does not target or harm civilians or civilian property.
The Libyan government claims the Tuna-1 was attacked about 10 miles from the coast and after it had been warned not to approach the city of Derna which is under control of a group linked to the Islamic State. The Turkish foreign ministry claims that it was attacked 13 miles from Tobruk and was actually bound for that port with plasterboard from Spain. The second captain, Zafer Kalayci, who was on board the ship when it was attacked denied that there was any warning about approaching Derna:
This is not the first time the Tobruk government has been condemned for attacking a ship as it approached Derna. In January, its aircraft bombed a Greek-operated oil tanker off Derna. The attack killed two crewmen. One was Greek and one Romanian. The US condemned that attack.
“In no way did they warn us, What they may mean by a warning was probably a bomb. They warned us with bombs.”Kalayci also said that there was a second attack when they were about 18 miles off the coast almost an hour after the first attack.