Monday, March 17, 2014

Navy SEALS board and take control of Libyan Oil Tanker

Navy SEALs have boarded and taken command of an oil tanker that was seized by three armed men at a Libyan port earlier this month, thwarting an attempt by a splinter militia group from selling nationalized Libyan oil on the black market.

A Pentagon spokesman said that the operation was carried out Sunday night on orders from President Obama in international waters southeast of Cyprus, at the request of the Libyan and Cypriot governments. There were no casualties. The USS Roosevelt provided an embarkation point for the SEALs as well as helicopter support and served as a command and control and support platform.

A group of around 30 men from Navy SEAL team 2 approached the Morning Glory oil tanker using rigid hull inflatable boats and used ladders to get on board. Two AK-47’s were found on the ship, but no shots were fired.

The rebels are detained on board and will be handed over to Libyan authorities. The SEALS have since left the ship but 25 sailors from the USS Stout are now on board.

"The Morning Glory is carrying a cargo of oil owned by the Libyan government National Oil Company. The ship and its cargo were illicitly obtained from the Libyan port of As-Sidra," a statement from Rear Adm. John Kirby's read.

The tanker had previously eluded a Libyan naval blockade around the port of Sidra, which is being held by militias who are demanding autonomy for eastern Libya. The maneuver led to the dismissal of Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan by that country's parliament last week.

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