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Navy SEALs Take Back Seized Libyan Oil Tanker, Pentagon Says

The U.S. intervention came at the request of the Libyan and Cypriot governments, the Pentagon said.
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A team of navy SEALs boarded and took control of an oil tanker in the Mediterranean Sea on Sunday night after the vessel was seized by armed Libyans, the Pentagon said.

No one was hurt in the operation to board the Morning Glory in international waters off the island of Cyprus, the according to a statement issued on Monday.

The ship was seized by three armed Libyans in the country's port of As-Sidra earlier this month, the Defense Department said. The U.S. intervention occurred at 10 p.m. ET Sunday and came at the request of the Libyan and Cypriot governments, according to the Pentagon.

"The SEAL team embarked and operated from the guided missile destroyer USS Roosevelt," Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in the statement. "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 was early Monday on its way to port in Libya with a team of sailors from the USS Roosevelt.

Earlier this month, Reuters reported the Morning Glory had docked at a rebel-held port in Libya and was being used by anti-government forces trying to export crude.

The rebels said they were using the 37,000-tonne vessel to bypass the Tripoli government, demanding a greater share in the country’s petroleum wealth, Reuters said. The tanker docked on Mar. 8 and local media reported the ship loaded $36 million of crude.

Tripoli’s government responded by threatening to bomb the ship, and last week they announced they had regained control. It was unclear how the tanker got back out into international waters.

Reuters contributed to this report.

- Alexander Smith