CYPRUS – A team of Navy SEALs and their large Great Dane have successfully solved the mystery of the phantom oil tanker, according to a spokesman from the U.S. 6th Fleet.
"Now let's see who you really are!" said SEAL Team 6 leader Lt. Randal Dickinson, from Groveland, Fla., as he pulled the rubber mask off the phantom ghost pirate, who hijacked the tanker Morning Glory from the Libyan porta of Sirta earlier this month.
"Old Man Belmokhtar!" all the team members exclaimed in surprise, upon seeing the former leader of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb dressed up in a pirate costume.
"Of course!" said Dickinson. "That explains why he was the only one not in the ship's galley; he was changing into his pirate outfit!"
"I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for you meddling SEALs," Belmokhtar complained as he was bundled into the back of the sheriff's car.
The SEALS originally boarded the Morning Glory after their guided missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG-80) broke down in the middle of a rainstorm, and two SEALs and the dog came down with a sudden case of the munchies.
Fanning out across what appeared to be a deserted ship, the SEALs quickly discovered what they thought was a phantom ghost pirate, who rattled his chains and sang terrifying sea shanties in an attempt to scare them off.
The SEAL team became suspicious after their dog, while comically fleeing from a mop and bucket covered in a sheet, accidentally discovered a set of footprints left behind by the ghost.
"Wait a minute," Dickinson said. "Ghosts don't leave footprints! There's something fishy going on here..."
"Like, zoinks, maybe the g-g-ghost just has dirty feet!" said Quartermaster 2nd Class Matthew Waddell, from La Crosse, Wis., replying through chattering teeth.
The team eventually set up an elaborate trap, where Waddell and the dog tricked the ghost pirate into running across a pile of marbles, causing it to slip and plummet off the side of the ship into a fishing net conveniently placed by celebrity singer Miley Cyrus, whose presence on the tanker has still not been fully explained by Naval Intelligence.
In recognition of their brave heroism, the Pentagon has already announced that Dickinson and Waddell will receive the Bronze Star for their actions and the dog a box of some type of snack treats.