On 31 March 2016, the UN Security Council (“UNSC“) adopted UNSC Resolution 2278 (2016) (the “Resolution“) which renews until 31 July 2017 the measures imposed by UNSC Resolution 2146 (2014) on the prevention of illicit crude oil exports from Libya. Against this backdrop, on 27 April 2016, the Libya Sanctions Committee (the “Committee“) approved the addition of the Indian vessel Distya Ameya to the UNSC asset freeze and travel ban list in relation to attempts to illicitly export crude oil from Libya. This designation was implemented by the EU on 5 May 2016 pursuant to Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/690.

The Resolution addresses the following five different areas: prevention of illicit oil exports, effective oversight of the financial institutions, arms embargo, asset freeze and panel of experts.

  1. Prevention of illicit oil exports: The Libyan Government of National Accord (“GNA“) is requested to appoint, and notify the Committee of, a focal point responsible for communication with the Committee with respect to the renewed measures in UNSC Resolution 2146 (2014).

By way of reminder, the Committee was established pursuant to UNSC Resolution 1970 (2011) to oversee Libya sanctions measures imposed by the UNSC. The authority of the Committee to designate vessels, on a case-by-case basis, for a period of 90 days is now extended by the Resolution. As initially provided for in Resolution 2146 (2014), Member States are under an obligation to take necessary measures to:

  • Prevent designated vessels from loading, transporting, or discharging illicit crude oil;
  • Prohibit designated vessels from entering their ports, unless such entry is necessary for inspection, emergency reasons or return to Libya;
  • Prohibit the provision by their nationals or from their territory of bunkering services to designated vessels, unless such provision is necessary for humanitarian purposes or return to Libya; and
  • Require their nationals, entities and individuals not to engage in any financial transactions with respect to illicit crude oil from Libya aboard designated vessels.

Further, Member States are authorised to inspect designated vessels, and use all compliant measures commensurate to the specific circumstances to carry out such inspections and direct the vessel to take appropriate actions to return illicit crude oil to Libya.

  1. Effective oversight of the financial institutions: The GNA will exercise sole and effective oversight over the National Oil Corporation, Central Bank of Libya and Libyan Investment Authority, and will confirm the establishment of such oversight to the Committee.
  2. Arms embargo: Member States are to provide the GNA, upon its request, with security and capacity-building assistance in response to threats from ISIL, Al-Qaida and groups associated with these organisations. The GNA is to improve further the monitoring and control of arms or related material supplied, sold or transferred to Libya, as well the implementation of the arms embargo.
  3. Asset freeze: Assets frozen pursuant to UNSC Resolution 1970 (2011) shall at a later stage be made available to and for the benefit of the Libyan people. The UNSC stands ready to consider appropriate changes to the asset freeze at the request of the GNA. By way of reminder, Resolution 1970 (2011) imposed asset freezes on individuals linked to human rights abuses by the Qadhafi regime.
  4. Panel of experts: The mandate of the Panel of Experts (the “Panel“) is extended until 31 July 2017. The Panel will assist the Committee in its sanctions implementation work, and provide to the UNSC a final report with its findings and recommendations no later than 15 June 2017.

By way of reminder, under Council Regulation (EU) No 2016/44, the EU applies a ban in respect of equipment which might be used for internal repression, an arms embargo, designated party controls and restrictions on loading, transporting or discharging crude oil from Libya on designated vessels flying the flag of an EU Member State. The designated party controls apply to around 40 individuals and 16 entities – see https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/517418/libya.pdf.