U.S. Navy SEALs have taken control of a commercial tanker that had been seized by three armed Libyans this month.
Using high-speed boats under the cover of darkness, the Navy SEALs seized the vessel from Libyan rebels during a raid off the coast at Cyprus on 17 march 2014.
Libya leader Ibrahim Jadran said the tanker was legally hired — not hijacked — and accused the United States of violating international maritime law by seizing and boarding the vessel.
A Defense Department official, speaking on condition, a two-hour operation resulted arrest of three Libyans and the discovery of two AK-47s on board. No shots were fired during the action, he said.
The boarding operation was conducted about 3 a.m. Central European Time in international waters southeast of Cyprus.
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
Defense official said four days was taken to control a tanker, which was seized at 15 nautical miles southeast of Cyprus, to return to Libyan waters. About 25 members of the Stout’s group were on board to provide security, navigation and communications.
Libya’s ineffectual prime minister, Ali Zeidan, he failed to prevent the hijacked oil port from thieves, and sailing away after it was loaded with the region’s oil. Zeidan himself accused of corruption.
At some point during this operation process, the Morning Glory was taken over by three armed Libyans presumed to be aligned with rebels they are control the oil port.
According to the New York Times reported on 17 March 2014 that Navy SEALs, who subsequently seized the tanker, captured the three Libyans and that the Morning Glory’s captain had described them as “hijackers.”
It was not immediately clear whether the men will remain in U.S. custody, or where they may be charged with a crime.
The Navy SEAL team that initially spearheaded the recovery operation has since departed from the Morning Glory, adding that 25 USS Stout team members are now aboard the tanker.
DOD said last week, The USS George H.W. Bush will remain in the Mediterranean Sea for several days longer than planned as part of a U.S. effort to reassure allies on edge over Russia’s incursion into Ukraine’s Crimean region.