US Navy SEALs Seize ‘Morning Glory’ Tanker Ship


Sep 12, 2012

AIRO — United States Navy commandos seized a diverted oil tanker in the Mediterranean waters southeast of Cyprus on Monday morning, thwarting an attempt by a breakaway Libyan militia to sell its contents on the black market, the Pentagon said. No one was hurt in the operation, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The diverted tanker, called the Morning Glory, had sailed into the Libyan port of Sidra under a North Korean flag but North Korea disavowed the ship and denied having provided any authorization. News reports have said it was operated by a company based in Alexandria, Egypt, and that after leaving Libyan waters it appeared to have sailed the Mediterranean in search of a buyer for its oil.

In astatementearly Monday morning, the Pentagon said that the Libyan and Cypriot governments had requested American help in seizing control of the tanker. President Obama authorized the operation just after 10 p.m. Sunday night in Washington, the statement said. Within a few hours a Navy SEAL team on the guided missile destroyer Roosevelt boarded and took control of the tanker, “a stateless vessel seized earlier this month by three armed Libyans,” the statement said.

The Roosevelt also provided helicopter support, the statement added, but it did not say how many Americans had participated in the seizure or what force might have been used. The American intervention is a salvation to the fragile transitional government in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, which would have faced the loss of its main source of revenue and its sole source of political power if renegade militias succeeded in selling Libya’s oil. Despite days of furious bluster, the Libyan authorities were unable to stop the tanker from arriving in the eastern port of Sidra early last week or from leaving with the oil a few days later. The loss of control over oil revenue threatened the government so gravely that the transitional government appeared to teeter, with Parliament voting to remove its prime minister without any consensus on his long-term replacement.

The seizure of the oil, which the United States Navy says it is now returning to Libya, is also a blow to the ambitions of Ibrahim Jathran, the leader of the eastern Libyan militia that sought to sell the oil. Mr. Jathran, who has presented himself as a kind of Libyan Robin Hood, has led an eight-month blockade of Libya’s main oil ports to demand more political autonomy and a bigger cut of the oil revenue for his region, which contains most of the country’s oil reserves.

But in addition to depriving the Libyan government of critical revenue, Mr. Jathran has also irked American and international concerns that have stakes in the Libyan oil industry. The willingness of the United States military to stop illicit exports appears to even out the balance of power between the government in Tripoli and Mr. Jathran’s militia in the east. While Tripoli has been unable to force Mr. Jathran to reopen the ports, he appears unable to sell the oil on his own either, returning the two sides to a stalemate.

The Pentagon said that a team of Navy sailors from the guided missile destroyer Stout would deliver the tanker to a Libyan port.
WASHINGTON, DC – US Navy SEALs yesterday boarded and took control of a commercial tanker ship that was seized earlier this month by three armed Libyans, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a Defense Department news release issued today.
“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 the release.
The boarding operation, approved by President Barack Obama and conducted just after 10 p.m. EDT on March 16 in international waters southeast of Cyprus, was executed by a team of U.S. Navy SEALs attached to Special Operations Command Europe, Kirby added.
“The SEAL team embarked and operated from the guided missile destroyer USS Roosevelt,” Kirby said in the release. The 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, he said.
“The ‘Morning Glory’ is carrying a cargo of oil owned by the Libyan government National Oil Company,” Kirby said in the release. “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 embarked, Kirby said. The sailors will be supervising the transit, he added.
The USS Roosevelt is homeported in Mayport, Fla. and is deployed as part of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group, Kirby said, adding that the USS Stout is homeported in Norfolk, Va.

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Waste of American money.

We should have told the Libyans to fuck off, but POTUS isn't going to do that.

Wonder if A-Q will disappear another airliner now that they have additional funds coming their way.
Keeping the high seas free of piracy is very much a concern of ours. Regardless of what country is effected. By the most powerful Navy in the world not doing anything, it emboldens the pirates and puts our own ships at risk.

On another note, I am glad to see NSW getting back to what they are good at. Over the last few years I always wondered how the piracy situation got so out of hand when we have these guys who were basically stood up to do missions exactly like this. Good to see them being utilized for what they were designed to do.