TRIPOLI, Libyan navy seized a Tunisian fishing bulldozer with five crew members on board off the western coast of the capital Tripoli, the navy spokesman said on Saturday.

"The Navy patrol seized a bulldozer carrying the Tunisian flag and its five crew members. The bulldozer is registered in the sea port of Sfax (in Tunisia) and is engaged in illegal fishing in Libyan waters," Navy Spokesman Ayob Qassem told Xinhua.

A naval vessel was on patrol mission off the north coast of Zliten city, some 150 km east of Tripoli, when the seized bulldozer was discovered, Qassem said.

When the Tunisian bulldozer was seized, Tunisian coast guards tried to intervene by sending a locomotive and a boat, he added.

The Tunisian coast guards contacted the naval vessel, but the ship's captain and crew "treated them responsibly and continued to transport the crew and the bulldozer to the Tripoli naval base," the spokesman noted.

"Several Tunisian fishing bulldozers tried to block the naval ship. We were forced to use cautionary fire," Qassem said.

Tunisian fishing bulldozers frequently infiltrate into Libyan waters for illegal fishing, despite being seized by the Libyan navy on several occasions.

In November 2016, the Libyan navy seized three Tunisian fishing boats with 54 people on board.


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