News / Middle East

Libya to Release Crew of Oil Tanker

Members of Libya's naval coastguard man speed boats as they wait for the arrival of the Morning Glory, an oil tanker that US Navy handed over to Libyan authorities on March 22, 2014 at Zawiya port, Libya.
Members of Libya's naval coastguard man speed boats as they wait for the arrival of the Morning Glory, an oil tanker that US Navy handed over to Libyan authorities on March 22, 2014 at Zawiya port, Libya.
VOA News
Libya says it will release the crew of a renegade oil tanker that was stopped by the U.S. Navy and returned to Libya.

A federal prosecutor, Al-Sadik al-Sour said Monday that the crew is still being investigated, but he said it is clear they were operating at gunpoint.

"We know very well that the ship's captain was [held under] force and that he thought he was entering a legitimate operation [with permission from the Libyan government]. He was surprised by what happened. [He said] he made several communications, but he was held at gunpoint and forced to fill the tanker with oil and set sail," said al-Sour.

He said three Libyan militia members who were aboard the vessel will continue to be detained for their role in the incident.

Rebels boarded the ship earlier this month in the Libyan port of As-Sidra and forced the crew to fill it with oil and set sail.

The tanker, Morning Glory, evaded Libyan naval forces, prompting a backlash against Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, who was forced from office by the national assembly.

Last week, U.S. Navy SEALS took control of the tanker while it was in international waters near Cyprus and returned it to Libya.

The tanker had been a North Korean-flagged ship. But Pyongyang has denied responsibility for the incident and revoked the registration of the ship.

Libyan officials have not given the nationality of the ship's crew members.

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