US Naval forces have returned a rogue vessel after it was loaded with crude oil at a militia-occupied port and evaded capture by the Libyan navy.
The Morning Glory arrived at Tripoli Port on Saturday under the watchful eye of US naval forces.
The vessel was caught in an operation by US Navy SEAL’s under request from the Libyan Government, near the coast of Cyprus earlier last week.
The ship had previously evaded capture, after it was loaded with up to US$36 million in crude oil at the militia controlled port of Es-Sider.
According to Reuters, Libyan forces took custody of the 21-person crew and the three rebels that had boarded the ship at Es-Sider. The group was then huddled onboard a smaller vessel back to Libyan mainland where they will await trial.
Libya state prosecutor, Abdelqadir Radwan is expected to oversee the case. So far, the crew have declined to provide any information, but family of the captain have stated that armed Libyan rebels boarded the ship, and forced them to load the oil.
Originally thought to be North Korean, the tanker is now believed to be operated by an Egyptian shipping company; however this is yet to be confirmed.
North Korea has denied any connection with the ship, stating that its original Pyongyang registry had been deleted and was no longer associated with the country in any shape or form.
The vessel is due to have arrived at the pro-government Zawiya refinery, where its cargo will be unloaded.
The successful operation comes at a time of great need for the Libyan government. Since the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011, several factions have risen up seeking autonomy and shares from the sale of oil, at a massive cost to the countries financial stability.
Oil exports have dropped from 1.4 million barrels of oil per day to 200,000.
For the past six months, Ibrahim Jathran and a number of armed militia have taken control of three key oil ports along the eastern coast, strangling the oil trade.
Any positivity from the operation was shadowed by clashes that happened between militia and pro-government forces just hours before at the town of Ajdabiya.
The fights broke out after rebel forces attacked an army base where government forces have steadily been preparing a counter attack to retrieve the oil depots.
It is believed at least 16 people were wounded in the clashes.