September 3, 2015 / 8:02 PM / 4 years ago

Libya plans to sell tanker used in attempt to export oil, bypassing state company

TRIPOLI, Sept 3 (Reuters) - - Libya plans to sell a tanker that a former rebel group used in an attempt to bypass the Libyan government and export oil on its own last year, the Tripoli-based state prosecutor said on Thursday.

The group had loaded crude on the “Morning Glory” at the eastern port of Es Sider and sailed in March 2014. U.S. Navy SEALs stopped the tanker off Cyprus and returned it to Tripoli.

“The office of the prosecutor general announces the sale of the Morning Glory tanker,” the prosecutor said on its website, the accuracy of which was confirmed by an official at the prosecutor’s office. An auction is scheduled for next Thursday.

The incident typifies the chaos in Libya since the uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The ship had been sold to a Libyan national close to a rebel group led by Ibrahim Jathran, who had seized major eastern oil ports in 2013 to press for eastern autonomy, according to a copy of the sale contract seen then by Reuters. It was unclear whether the tanker had been sold again since then.

Jathran ended his blockade of the port weeks after the failed attempt to export the oil. He is now allied to Libya’s official government, which is based in the east since losing Tripoli, the capital, a year ago. Tripoli has been held since then by a rival government.

Libyan briefly detained the tanker’s foreign crew, then deported them. Officials never disclosed who had planned to buy the crude loaded on the tanker. (Writing by Ulf Laessing, editing by Larry King)

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