US Navy Seals boarded and took control of an oil tanker late on Sunday that had was seized earlier this month at a Libyan port by three armed men, the US Department of Defense said.
No one was hurt in the boarding operation, approved by US President Barack Obama, requested by the Libyan and Cypriot governments and conducted in international waters southeast of Cyprus, said Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby.
“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,” his statement said.
The tanker loaded oil at the Libyan port held by rebels and they had claimed that it had reached its destination.
The rebels, in the east of the country, who are calling for a greater share of oil wealth and autonomy, managed last week to load crude onto the 37,000 tonne-tanker, which escaped the Libyan navy, embarrassing the weak central government and prompting parliament to vote the prime minister out of office.
The Libyan Navy lost contact with the tanker after firing on it on Monday or Tuesday, officials have said.
File Photo: The North Korean-flagged tanker “Morning Glory” docked at the Es Sider export terminal in Ras Lanuf, March 8, 2014.