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.