The Turkish foreign ministry said that a Turkish dry cargo ship was shelled from the Libyan coast as it approached the port of Tobruk and then attacked from the air as it tried to leave the area on Sunday.
The ship was shelled as it was 13 miles off the Libyan coast, then it was hit by two airstrikes that killed a ship officer and injured several crew members.
The Libya military said the Turkish vessel was shelled after a warning not to break a ban on approaching the eastern city of Derna, and was later towed into Tobruk port
The ship was first shelled from the shore as it was approaching the area, the Turkish ministry said Monday. It was then attacked twice from the air as it was trying to leave the area.
The MV Tuna 1, sailing under the flag of Cook Islands, was carrying a cargo to the Libyan port from Spain and came under attack when it was in international waters, the ministry said. The man killed in the incident was the ship’s third officer.
The ministry condemned the assault, but did not specify who was behind it.
“We condemn strongly this contemptible attack which targeted a civilian ship in international waters and curse those who carried it out,” it said.
A Libyan military spokesman responded to condemnations from Ankara, saying the vessel came under attack after ignoring a warning not to approach the city of Derna, some 145 km west of Tobruk.
“A ship was shelled about 10 miles from Derna coast. We have warned before about approaching Derna port,” Mohamed Hejazi, a spokesman for forces with Libya’s internationally recognized government, told Reuters. He confirmed one member of the crew was killed, but said that only one other sustained injuries.
A military source also told Reuters the vessel caught on fire and was towed in Tobruk terminal.