Tripoli, Libya - The North Korean tanker that illegally loaded an oil shipment from a Libyan oil port has been seized by US Navy Seals in the Mediterranean, according to the US Pentagon.
The Pentagon said in a statement Monday that the Navy Seals took control of the ship on the orders of US President Barack Obama, following a request by Libya and Cyprus.
The vessel, tagged the 'Morning Glory', had escaped from Libyan custody after it was impounded for loading oil 8 March from the al-Sedra port, one of the terminals that have been seized by a militia group under the leadership of Ibrahim Jathran.
Jathran's group is responsible for an eight-month blockade of oil terminals in the eastern part of the North African nation, a development that has drastically reduced the country's oil export, the main source of its foreign exchange earnings.
Indications are that the stolen oil will now be returned to Libya.
On Sunday evening, Libyan Justice Minister Salah al- Marghania told a press conference in the eastern city of Benghazi that the oil tanker was still in international waters and that his country would seek help to recover the state-owned crude oil.
North Korea has disowned the oil-stealing vessel, saying it was put under its flag by an Egypt-based company.
PANA reports that the saga of the vessel's escape provided the immediate trigger for the removal of former Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan.