High-risk insurance for oil workers in Libya
17 March 2015
Earlier this month, the Al-Ghani oil field, 440 miles southeast of Tripoli, was attacked by Islamic State (IS) militants. They reportedly set fire to the biggest storage tank and beheaded eight security guards. One oil worker died of a heart attack after witnessing the murders. Nine foreign oil workers are missing, presumed kidnapped – including citizens from the Philippines, Austria, Bangladesh, the Czech Republic and Ghana.
Oil fields in the crosshairs
In recent weeks IS have attacked two other Libyan oil fields in Bahi and Mabruk. In Mabruk they killed 11 guards and took three hostages.
The Wall Street Journal recently described oil companies as being “…in the crosshairs of Libyan violence”. Four years on from the fall of Colonel Gadhafi, Libya could be described as a failed state. The internationally recognised government has fled to Tobruk, while in the capital, Tripoli, the General National Congress claims to be in charge. Meanwhile, large parts of the country are completely ungoverned. Representatives from both sides are currently in Morocco for UN backed peace talks.
A volatile and complex situation
Across the country the situation is as volatile as it is complex. Libya is awash with weaponry and armed militias with differing agendas and enmities – Bedouin Arabs versus non-Bedouin Arabs, revolutionaries versus counter-revolutionaries, Muslim hardliners versus moderates. On top of this there are groups affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda. Now IS is an increasing threat.
According to the journalist Mary Fitzgerald, Libya is fertile ground for IS. “You're talking about a country with porous borders, vast ungoverned spaces and right now a political and security vacuum.”
Already IS claim to be in charge of three provinces. In January they shocked the world, yet again, by beheading 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians on a beach. They also bombed an upmarket hotel in Tripoli, killing nine people. On 20th February 2015, an IS suicide bomber killed 40 people in the eastern town of Al-Qubbah.
Specialist high-risk Libya insurance is essential
Current Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice is against all travel to all parts of Libya. In view of this, and the dangerously unpredictable security situation, anyone travelling here should be aware that standard business and travel insurance will not be valid.
If you have people who are continuing to work in Libya or need to visit, Bellwood Prestbury can organise specialist high-risk Libya insurance. We work with many clients across North Africa and the Middle East in known conflict zones, providing protection for people, liabilities and assets.
For more information please contact our experienced team on +44 (0) 207 305 5650 or contact us now.