First foreign tanker docks at eastern Libyan port since air strike

TRIPOLI, May 6 (Reuters) - Libya has persuaded a foreign shipper to send a tanker to the eastern port of Derna for the first time since a warplane belonging to the official government bombed a Greek-operated tanker there in January, its state oil firm (NOC) said.

Foreigner shippers have generally stayed away from Derna, a hotbed for Islamist militants, since a jet killed two foreign seamen while attacking their tanker docked there.

On Monday and Tuesday, warplanes belonging to the internationally recognised government again targeted militant positions in Derna, though apparently not hitting the port.

The violence is part of a wider struggle in Libya where two governments, armed groups and Islamist militants are fighting each other four years after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.

The Greek-operated tanker Naftilos delivered heavy fuel to Derna's power plant this week, NOC said in a statement. "This will give a positive signal to the oil market that Libyan ports are safe," it said.

Officials in Libya's recognised government based in the east since losing the capital in August said the tanker attacked in January was carrying ammunition for Islamist fighters. NOC said it had brought heavy fuel for the local power plant.

NOC is based in Tripoli, where a rival government and parliament are in control. (Reporting by Feras Bosalum and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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