News / Middle East

US Forces Hand Over Seized Oil Tanker to Libya

FILE - A North Korean-flagged tanker is docked at the Es Sider export terminal in Ras Lanuf, Libya, March 8, 2014.
FILE - A North Korean-flagged tanker is docked at the Es Sider export terminal in Ras Lanuf, Libya, March 8, 2014.
Reuters
The U.S. Navy handed over to Libyan authorities on Saturday an oil tanker carrying crude that had been loaded at a port controlled by armed rebels in defiance of Tripoli's government.
 
The Morning Glory tanker was due to arrive later on Saturday at Libya's government-controlled Zawiya port after being seized by U.S. commandos and escorted back through international waters by the U.S. Navy, Libyan officials said.
 
Hours before the handover, at least 16 people were wounded when Libyan rebels occupying three eastern oil ports clashed with troops and attacked an army base, where pro-government forces had been preparing to break the rebel blockade.
 
Anti-aircraft gunfire and explosions were heard overnight and after dawn on Saturday in Ajdabiya, the hometown of rebel leader Ibrahim Jathran, whose fighters seized the ports last summer to demand a greater share in Libya's oil resources.
 
The struggle for control of Libya's vital petroleum resources is one of the key challenges facing the weak central government, which has still failed to secure the North African country three years after the fall of Moammer Gadhafi.
 
Brigades of former anti-Gadhafi rebels and militias refuse to disarm and often use armed force or control of oil facilities to make demands on a state whose army is still in training.
 
U.S. special forces boarded and seized the Morning Glory tanker last Sunday off Cyprus, days after it left Libya with a cargo of crude from one port, Es Sider, occupied by Jathran's men who had vowed to export oil themselves to resist Tripoli.
 
“The handover took place in international waters off the coast of Libya, and the Government of Libya and its security forces are now in control of the vessel,” the U.S. Embassy said in a statement.
 
Once the Morning Glory docks, crude from the tanker will be fed into Zawiya refinery, which has been forced to lower its production because of a protest at another oil facility, the El Sharara oilfield, officials at Zawiya port said.
 
Zawiya port is 55 km (34 miles) west of the capital Tripoli.
 
The Tripoli government gave Jathran a two-week deadline on March 12 to end his port blockade or face a military assault, though analysts say Libya's nascent armed forces may struggle to carry out that threat.
 
Jathran's self-declared Cyrenaica government is demanding more autonomy for his eastern region. Attempts to broker a deal between the rebels and Tripoli have so far failed.
 
LANA state news agency said tribal community leaders helped stop the fighting earlier on Saturday between the rebels and Libyan soldiers. But the agency reported 16 people were wounded.
 
Split, rivalries
 
After months of threats, Jathran's federalist gunmen managed to load crude onto the Morning Glory tanker. The ship left port  and escaped Libya's navy, embarrassing Tripoli's government and prompting parliament to sack Prime Minister Ali Zeidan.
 
The seizure of the tanker in international waters was a rare boost for the government, which has struggled to end a standoff that has cost the state more than $7 billion in lost revenue.
 
The three rebel-held ports account for around 700,000 barrels per day of Libya's oil export capacity, or around half of its total petroleum shipments.
 
The town where Saturday's battle broke out, Ajdabiya, is divided between Jathran supporters and those who fear his oil blockade will lead to the collapse of the state.
 
But any major assault on the three ports may bolster support for Jathran's cause for a federalist state.
 
Tripoli's government is also stymied by infighting among Islamists, secular parties and tribes that has delayed Libya's transition to democracy since the fall of Gadhafi, whose one-man rule left few state institutions.
 
Western governments, which backed NATO's air strikes to help the 2011 anti-Gadhafi revolt, are training Libya's armed forces and are pressing the factions to reach a political settlement.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Nancy H Franco from: Philadelphia PA USA
March 23, 2014 2:30 AM
I believe this is yours. Boy ya think you would notice something this large missing wouldn't ya.

I sincerely wish that the new Libya will continue to lead the way in providing health care for every citizen and make this the most important goal of this new millennium. I believe we can work together in the fight to provide safe clean affordable health care for every person an achievable reality, we have learned much from your health care ideals and we have employed these ideals in our new health care system. I think we can continue to learn and work together to make this an even better place for us all to live and prosper. Peace Grace Be Careful See Ya Later

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs