US Navy SEALs take control of rogue Libyan oil tanker

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  1. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Long walk Elite Member

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    Navy SEALs take control of rogue Libyan oil tanker


    US Navy SEALs boarded and took control of a North Korea-flagged tanker that had loaded crude oil at a port held by rebels in eastern Libya, the Pentagon said Monday.

    No one was hurt “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 Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.


    The operation was approved by President Barack Obama and was conducted just after 12 a.m. Monday “in international waters southeast of Cyprus.”

    The Morning Glory “is carrying a cargo of oil owned by the Libyan government’s National Oil Company. The ship and its cargo were illicitly obtained from the Libyan port of As-Sidra,” the statement read.

    The tanker will be “underway soon to a port in Libya” with a team of US sailors aboard.

    The Morning Glory, which departed from the eastern Libyan port of Al-Sidra — controlled by rebels seeking autonomy from the authorities in Tripoli — is reported to have loaded at least 234,000 barrels of crude.

    Pyongyang on Wednesday however denied any responsibility for the tanker.

    Cypriot media reported Monday that two Israelis and a Senegalese man were questioned in Larnaca on suspicion of planning to buy the crude, before being sent back to Tel Aviv.

    The ship was operated by an Egypt-based company that was allowed to temporarily use the North Korean flag under a contract with Pyongyang, North Korean state news agency KCNA said on Wednesday.

    Pyongyang had “cancelled and deleted” the ship’s North Korean registry, as it violated its law “on the registry of ships and the contract that prohibited it from transporting contraband cargo”.

    “Therefore, the ship has nothing to do” with North Korea, which “has no responsibility whatsoever as regards the ship,” KCNA said.

    Navy SEALs take control of rogue Libyan oil tanker | The Times of Israel
     
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  3. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Long walk Elite Member

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    US navy hands rogue oil tanker back to Libya


    The US Navy handed over to Libyan authorities Saturday an oil tanker it boarded after the vessel took to sea with crude illegally loaded at a rebel-held port, the American embassy said.

    "Earlier today, US forces turned control of the M/T Morning Glory over to the government of Libya," a statement said.

    "The handover took place in international waters off the coast of Libya, and the government of Libya and its security forces are now in control of the vessel."

    The embassy said the transfer of the Egyptian-owned tanker had taken place "smoothly and as planned".

    "We have been assured by the government of Libya that the captain, crew members and Libyan nationals who were aboard the stateless tanker will be treated humanely in accordance with internationally recognised standards of human rights," it said.

    US Navy SEALS captured the Morning Glory off Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean on Monday.

    The ship last week slipped through a Libyan naval blockade off the eastern port of Al-Sidra -- controlled by rebels seeking autonomy from Tripoli -- after reportedly being loaded with some 234,000 barrels of crude.

    On Saturday, pro-autonomy rebels and government forces clashed in the eastern city of Ajadabiya, leaving an unknown number of casualties, an AFP journalist and military sources said.

    A senior military official said the clashes broke out around an army barracks in the east of the city. There were casualties on both sides, he said, without giving figures.

    The rebels, whose forces have been blockading the eastern ports, were fighting to recapture the barracks from government forces, one of their commanders said.

    The AFP journalist reported heavy gunfire in Ajadabiya and columns of smoke from the vicinity of the barracks.

    The weak Tripoli government's failure to lift the blockades and stop the Morning Glory had plunged Libya into one of its biggest crises since Moamer Kadhafi was toppled by a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.

    No one was hurt when US forces, at the request of both Libya and Cyprus, "boarded and took control" of the tanker operated by three armed Libyans, the Pentagon said.

    Its escape after Libyan authorities had repeatedly vowed to take all measures to stop it underscored the weakness of the central government, which has struggled to rein in heavily armed former rebels.

    Rebels pressing for autonomy for Libya's eastern Cyrenaica region -- epicentre of the revolt against Kadhafi -- have been blockading oil terminals in eastern Libya since July.

    That has led to a decline in exports from 1.5 million barrels a day to just 250,000.

    The Morning Glory incident marked a major escalation and triggered the ouster of liberal-backed prime minister Ali Zeidan.

    The Morning Glory was originally a North Korean-flagged ship, but Pyongyang said it had "cancelled and deleted" its registry on the grounds it was carrying contraband material.

    The United States has viewed the chaos in Libya with growing alarm since an attack on its consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi in September 2012 that killed US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.''

    AFP: US navy hands rogue oil tanker back to Libya
     

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