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The PJ Tatler

Bridget Johnson


March 17, 2014 - 7:04 am

Navy SEALs boarded and seized control overnight of a tanker carrying illicit oil from Libya, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby confirmed this morning.

The Morning Glory took on an illegal shipment of oil at the port of Sidra while flying under the North Korean flag in a deal brokered with federalist Ibrahim Jadhran, who hasn’t yet surrendered control of the ports at Sidra, Ras Lanuf and Zueitina under order of Libya’s General National Congress.

An Egyptian company turned out to be behind the illegal oil purchase, and North Korean claimed they only had permission to fly their flag for six months.

The tanker was spotted off the coast of Egypt last week; Kirby said they caught up with it off Cypress.

“No one was hurt tonight when U.S. 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,” Kirby said in a statement.

“The boarding operation, approved by President Obama and conducted just after 10 p.m. EDT on March 16 in international waters southeast of Cypress, was executed by a team of U.S. Navy SEALs attached to Special Operations Command Europe,” he continued. “The SEAL team embarked and operated from the guided missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG-80). USS Roosevelt provided helicopter support and served as a command and control and support platform for the other members of the force assigned to conduct the mission.”

“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. The Morning Glory will be underway soon to a port in Libya with a team of sailors from the USS Stout (DDG-55) embarked. The sailors will be supervising the transit.”

Libya didn’t follow through on its threat to bomb the tanker “into scattered ash” if it pirated the oil.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (3)
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Now I'm the captain.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm surprised that Obama didn't ask the UN or use a strongly worded sanction against the tanker. Why didn't Libya and Cypress request aid from the Soviets? For the first time in 5 years I'm proud to be an American again. Protecting innocents should be entrusted to America's military, and should not require an executive order or a unanimous consensus of the world community.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, why would the people who overthrew Gadaffi ask Putin for aid? I think not. Anyway, sure. I'm glad it all worked out because this wasn't the safest of missions. It certainly is not normal in any respect. The US has protected the fledgling Libyan government's oil profit monopoly and... let's just hope that means something positive here, like keeping more money away from terror groups (indirectly).
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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