US takes rogue Libya oil tanker
Published 17/03/2014 | 12:52
The US has taken control of a stateless oil tanker seized earlier in the month by Libyan rebels, the Pentagon says.
Navy Seals boarded the tanker Morning Glory in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea near Cyprus.
Nobody was hurt in the operation, which was approved by US president Barack Obama.
The vessel, whose ownership remains a mystery, was carrying stolen Libyan crude oil from the port of Al-Sidra. Libyan officials had ordered the tanker to be confiscated, but it managed to escape.
The Pentagon said the Morning Glory will return to Libya under the control of sailors from the USS Stout. It was not clear which Libyan port the vessel was sailing for.
The Cyprus Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the tanker was in international waters off the east Mediterranean island's southern coast since Saturday and that it was being monitored by Cypriot vessels.
The ministry said the tanker was at anchor some 18 nautical miles south of the coastal town of Limassol when US special forces took control and was now sailing "in a westward direction" under escort from US Navy ships.
The Morning Glory previously sailed under a North Korean flag, but North Korea says it has nothing to do with the ship.