One person was killed and several others wounded when a cargo ship belonging to a Turkish company was shelled off the Libyan coast, Turkey’s foreign ministry said on Monday. The Cook Islands-flagged ship was shelled about 13 nautical miles off the port city of Tobruk and was attacked twice from the air, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
"The third captain of the ship lost his life, several of the crew were injured and the ship was damaged," the foreign ministry statement said, according to AFP.
Turkey strongly condemned the attack and said the ship was in neutral territory. "We condemn strongly this contemptible attack which targeted a civilian ship in international waters and curse those who carried it out," the Turkish government said in a statement, according to Reuters.
A military spokesman representing the internationally recognized Tobruk-based government of Libya said the vessel came under attack after it ignored warnings to not approach the port city of Derna, west of Tobruk. "A ship was shelled about 10 miles from Derna coast. We have warned before about approaching Derna port," spokesman Mohamed Hejazi told Reuters.
Libya remains mired in chaos with two rival governments vying for power in the country. The political situation worsened after the ouster of former ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.