TRIPOLI, Libya – A spokesman for the Libyan navy says American sailors have handed over control of a captured North Korean-flagged oil tanker to Libyan forces while in international waters.
Ayoub Abou el-Qassem said Saturday that the tanker, Morning Glory, is now heading to the port at Zawiya refinery, 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of the capital Tripoli.
Last week, U.S. Navy SEALs seized the ship off the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, stopping an attempt by a Libyan militia to sell its shipload of crude in defiance of Tripoli. A Pentagon spokesman said Friday that 34 sailors from the frigate USS Elrod are aboard the tanker.
The tanker saga illustrated the extreme weakness of Libya's government, vying with militias for dominance since the 2011 ouster and death of longtime strongman Moammar Gadhafi.