Cyprus Mail

Cyprus thanks US for assistance in tanker operation

Cyprus on Tuesday thanked the US for its assistance in the handling of the tanker carrying stolen oil Libyan oil.

US Navy SEALs on Sunday night seized the vessel in international waters off Cyprus after Cypriot authorities had been monitoring the vessels since spotting it on Friday.

In a written statement, Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides said the two countries had coordinated their actions on a diplomatic and operational level, leading to the safe removal of a “potentially dangerous load” carried by the tanker.

The US government contribution had been decisive, both for the security of the Cyprus and its citizens, as well as in enforcing international law, the statement said.

A statement issued by Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby late on Monday said that no one was hurt “when US forces, at the request of both 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”.

“The boarding operation, approved by President Obama and conducted just after 10pm EDT on March 16 in international waters southeast of Cyprus, was executed by a team of US Navy SEALs attached to Special Operations Command Europe,” he said.

He said the SEAL team embarked and operated from the guided missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG-80). USS Roosevelt 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.

Kirby said that US sailors were supervising the transit of the vessel to a port in Libya.

A statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister of the Libyan Interim Government said that it was grateful to the US and Cyprus for their participation in the operation.

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