23 March 2014

Libya: Tanker Returns to Libya

Photo: Kate Thomas
Passengers wait to disembark at Lampedusa port (file photo).

A North Korean-flagged oil tanker that a Libyan militia illegally loaded with crude oil has returned to Libya.

Officials say the Morning Glory will sail Sunday to the port of Zawiya, near the Libyan capital of Tripoli, where it will offload its cargo.

U.S. forces seized the vessel last week off the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, stopping an attempt by Libyan rebels to sell the crude oil in defiance of the government in Tripoli.

Rebel forces in the eastern Libyan port of Sid had loaded an estimated 234,000 barrels of oil onto the Morning Glory, worth around $24 million.

The return of the tanker is a rare victory for Tripoli, which is struggling to end a port blockage by rebels, one of many challenges facing the central government that has failed to secure the North African country three years after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi.

North Korea has denied responsibility for the tanker.

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