By Tom Westcott.
Tripoli, 17 March 2014:
The tanker Morning Glory, which illicitly loaded oil from Sidra port, is now under . . .[restrict]control of US forces and is on its way back to Libya after being boarded by Navy SEALs in the early hours of this morning.
“No one was hurt tonight when US forces, at the request of both the Libyan and Cypriot governments, boarded and took control of the commercial tanker Morning Glory, a stateless vessel seized earlier this month by three armed Libyans,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said.
The captain of the ship had also requested assistance, an American official told the Libya Herald. “The Master (Captain) stated that the vessel had been boarded by force and that the crew was in danger and requested US assistance,” he said.
The Morning Glory was sailing in international waters off the coast of Cyprus when it was boarded, and was carrying an illegal shipment of oil loaded from the Sidra oil export terminal, which is under the control of federalists led by Ibrahim Jadhran. The vessel was also no longer registered to any country – a legal requirement under international maritime law – after being stripped of its right to sail under the North Korean flag.
The operation was conducted by a team of Navy SEALs attached to Special Operations Command Europe and operated from the guided missile destroyer USS Roosevelt, Washington said. The USS Roosevelt served as command control for the operation and provided helicopter support.
The Morning Glory is now en route back to Libya, the US official said. It is not known at which port the vessel will dock. [/restrict]