USS Elrod Assumes Escort Duty for ‘Morning Glory’ Tanker Ship
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 21, 2014 The U.S. Navy’s USS Elrod relieved the USS Stout of its escort duties for the Morning Glory tanker ship March 19, Army Col. Steven Warren, a Defense Department spokesman, told Pentagon reporters today.
The Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate USS Elrod arrives in Souda Bay, Greece, for a scheduled port visit, Feb. 16, 2014. Elrod was on a scheduled deployment supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility, and has taken over escort duties for the Libyan oil tanker The Morning Glory prior to return of the tanker to Libyan officials. At the request of the governments of Libya and Cyprus, U.S. Navy SEALs reclaimed the tanker from three armed men who had taken control of it. U.S. Navy photo by Petty officer 2nd Class Jeffrey M. Richardson
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The Navy initially took control of the commercial tanker in international waters by request of the governments of Libya and Cyprus following its seizure earlier this month by three armed Libyans.
The Morning Glory, according to a DOD statement, is carrying cargo of oil owned by the Libyan government National Oil Company, and was illicitly obtained from the Libyan port of As-Sidra.
Warren said 34 sailors from the USS Elrod are aboard the Morning Glory and all USS Stout personnel have departed the ship.
“We’re going to hand over the Morning Glory to Libyan naval authorities within the next day or two in international waters just outside of the territorial water line,” he said.
Everything will be turned over to the government of Libya, Warren noted, including the three Libyans, the entire 21-member organic crew of the Morning Glory, the ship and all of its contents.
The change of escorts was for administrative reasons, Warren said. The USS Stout is assigned to the U.S. European Command area of operations, while the USS Elrod has the U.S. Africa Command area of operations.
The USS Elrod, an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate, is homeported in Norfolk, Va., and deployed Jan. 14 to the 6th Fleet area of operations.
(Follow Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallAFPS)