Owners of two Turkish power-generating vessels off Lebanon’s shore, which supply the country with electricity, decided to stop their engines after a judicial order saying they must settle arrears.
The decision in the crisis-wracked country, already plagued with power rationing since its 1975 civil war, threatens to plunge it into darkness.
Turkish operator Karadeniz, said its power barges Fatmagül Sultan and Orhan Bey that supply Lebanon with 900 MW of electricity, will stop working until a judicial order is reversed.
Last week, Lebanon’s Financial Prosecutor Judge Ali Ibrahim issued an order detaining Fatmagül Sultan and Orhan Bey in connection with a suspected violation of the contract signed with the Lebanese state.
His decision detained the ships and prevented them from leaving Lebanon.
Ibrahim also issued a decision that freezes any payments to the Turkish firm that owns the ships, Karpowership, to “guarantee the state’s rights as to the $25 million penalty clause should the payment of commissions be verified,” according to the National News Agency.
Two Lebanese suspects have been arrested on suspicion of being involved in the payment of a commission to secure Karpowership the contract with the Lebanese state.
Lebanese officials however, have requested the firm to delay the decision until the end of the week.
Shall the decision be implemented, power cuts will be increased by six more hours.
Nidaa al-Watan newspaper said that PM-designate Saad Hariri and caretaker Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar embarked on persuading the Turkish side to delay the move.
If the two ships stopped operating, officials may have to bring in a new vessel to provide power supply.
Regarding how to provide the necessary funding for that ship to operate the factories of Deir Ammar and Al-Harisha, MP Nazih Najm told Nidaa Al-Watan newspaper that its “financing is not currently available. We will discuss the matter later, because we have no other choice.”