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U.S. Navy SEALs seize control of oil tanker from Libyan rebels

March 17, 2014 at 11:21 AM

TRIPOLI, Libya, March 17 (UPI) -- Elite U.S. troops, under cover of darkness Monday, wrested control of an oil tanker away from Libyan rebels off the Cypriot coast, the Pentagon said.

The mission was carried out in the Mediterranean Sea by U.S. Navy SEALs backed by helicopters at the request of the Libyan and Cypriot governments, the Los Angeles Times and New York Times reported.

"No one was hurt tonight when U.S. forces ... boarded and took control of the commercial tanker Morning Glory," the Defense Department said in a statement.

The SEALs launched their mission to retake the North Korean-flagged tanker Sunday night from the U.S. guided missile destroyer Roosevelt, the Pentagon said. The ship and its multimillion-dollar cargo was being returned to Libya, the Pentagon said.

The New York Times said U.S. President Obama authorized the operation to retrieve the Morning Glory, which military officials described as "a stateless vessel seized earlier this month by three armed Libyans."

The tanker had left Es Sedr port last week despite threats from ousted Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan to use force to prevent it from leaving, the Los Angeles newspaper said.

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