One person has died from an attack on a Turkish Cook Islands-flagged dry cargo ship by Libya’s military.

The Turkish-owned vessel named Tuna-1 was sailing in international waters 13 miles off the coast of Tobruk, heading toward a Libyan port, when it was reportedly attacked.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said the vessel, which was carrying gypsum from Spain to Libya, was subjected to artillery fire and two airstrikes.

The assault resulted in the death of the vessel’s third officer and injuries to several crew members.

Turkey described the incidents as ‘contemptible’, signalling further deterioration between the countries.

"We strongly denounce this heinous attack towards a civilian ship in international waters."

A statement from Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said: "We strongly denounce this heinous attack towards a civilian ship in international waters and we condemn those who carried out the attack."

Meanwhile, the Libyan Government said the army attacked the vessel after it was warned not to approach the coast.

According to Libyan authorities, maritime personnel were concerned when the vessel entered a stretch of water between Tobruk and Derna, and the crew did not respond to requests to change the course.

Libyan naval officer Naseeb Al-Abidi was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying: "The vessel was suspected of carrying weapons to Derna.

"Why else would they cruise along that path and not respond to the Navy or Air Force when we contacted them."

In the wake of this incident, Turkey has asked Libya to immediately end threats against Turkish ships in the region, and also demanded that the UN hold’s the perpetrators accountable.