Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Rogue Libya oil ship returned

18 March 2014, 06:53

Tripoli - US Navy Seals captured an oil tanker on Monday that had loaded crude at a rebel-held port in eastern Libya and escaped to sea, the Pentagon said.

The weak Tripoli government's failure to halt the tanker had plunged the country into one of its biggest crises since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled by a Nato-backed uprising in 2011, with parliament ousting Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, who fled the country.

No one was hurt when US forces, at the request of both Libya and Cyprus, "boarded and took control of the commercial tanker Morning Glory, a stateless vessel seized earlier this month by three armed Libyans," Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said.

The operation was approved by President Barack Obama and was conducted in the early hours of Monday (just after 02:00 GMT) in international waters southeast of Cyprus.

The naval commandos operated from the USS Roosevelt, a guided missile destroyer which provided helicopter support, while sailors from another destroyer, the USS Stout, boarded the tanker and prepared to sail it to an unnamed port in Libya, Kirby said in a statement.

The Morning Glory last week slipped through a Libyan naval blockade of the eastern port of Al-Sidra - controlled by rebels seeking autonomy from Tripoli - after reportedly being loaded with some 234 000 barrels of crude.

Libya's interim government confirmed the takeover of the ship and thanked the United States and Cyprus.

It said in a statement the tanker was on its way to Libya and that crew members "will be treated in accordance with national and international laws."

"Oil is the lifeblood of the national economy and any attack on the treasures of the Libyan people is unacceptable and cannot go without a response," it added.

Cyprus said its vessels had deployed to monitor the tanker's course as it made its way near the Mediterranean island, remaining in international waters and eventually stopping 18 nautical miles south of the southern port city of Limassol.


The tanker did not ask for authorisation to moor in a Cypriot port, and early on Monday Cypriot officials were notified that the tanker "was placed under the control of the US Navy and is being escorted by US Navy vessels on a westerly course."

In a related development, reports in the Cypriot media said two Israelis and a Senegalese national were questioned by police in Cyprus on Saturday on suspicion of negotiating to buy crude from the tanker.

A Cyprus court declined to issue arrest warrants as authorities had no evidence that the alleged offence was committed within the island's territorial waters.

Local media said the three flew in to Larnaca on a private jet late on Friday, hired a boat and went out to the tanker to negotiate with the crew.

Police monitored their movements and the boat was intercepted once they were back in Cyprus waters. The trio flew out to Tel Aviv on Sunday night.

The oil tanker's escape after Libyan authorities had repeatedly vowed to take all measures to stop it dramatically underscored the weakness of the central government, which has struggled to rein in heavily-armed former rebels from the 2011 revolt.

Rebels pressing for autonomy for Libya's eastern Cyrenaica region - epicentre of the revolt against Gaddafi - have been blockading the country's eastern oil terminals since July, leading to a decline in exports from 1.5 million barrels a day to just 250 000.

But the Morning Glory incident marked a major escalation in the struggle and triggered the ousting on Tuesday of the liberal-backed Zeidan, whose inability to bring law and order to Libya was highlighted by his own brief abduction by armed men last year.

The Morning Glory originally was a North Korean-flagged ship, but Pyongyang on Wednesday "cancelled and deleted" its registry on grounds it was carrying contraband material.

The United States has viewed the chaos in Libya with growing alarm since an attack on its mission in the eastern city of Benghazi on 11 September 2012, in which US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

On Monday, a car bomb targeting a military academy in Benghazi killed at least seven people and wounded another 12, leaving a one-metre deep crater and torn fragments of bloody military uniforms strewn across the ground.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...