A U.S. navy team took control of the commercial tanker Morning Glory in the Mediterranean waters southeast of Cyprus, which was seized by a Libyan militia earlier this month, the Pentagon said in a statement on Monday.
"No one was hurt tonight (Sunday) when U.S. forces, at the request of 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," a statement on the website of the U.S. Department of Defense said.
The SEAL team embarked and operated from the guided missile destroyer USS Roosevelt, which 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 statement added.
"The Morning Glory is carrying a cargo of oil owned by the Libyan government National Oil Company," the statement said. "The ship and its cargo were illicitly obtained from the Libyan port of As-Sidra."
The vessel will head soon to a Libyan port under the control of a team of sailors from another American destroyer, USS Stout, the statement said.
The Morning Glory was bearing flags of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), but the DPRK has denied any responsibility for the loading of the oil.
KCNA, the official news agency of the DPRK, said the Egyptian ship was temporarily using the DPRK flag for six months under a contract with Pyongyang, which has since de-registered the vessel.
"The DPRK formally notified the Libyan government and the International Maritime Organization that it canceled and deleted the ship's DPRK registry and invalidated all the certificates as the ship violated the DPRK's law on the registry of ships and the contract that prohibited it from transporting contraband cargo and entering the warring, dispute-torn or natural disaster-affected areas," KCNA quoted a spokesman for the Maritime Administration as saying.