North Korea has denied any link to Morning Glory tanker which left Libya with an oil shipment in defiance of the government, a Pyongyang official has said.
North Korea revoked the Morning Glory’s registration when it learned of the incident, Jon Ki-chol said.
Libya’s PM Ali Zeidan was dismissed by parliament on Tuesday after the ship evaded a naval blockade to set sail from a rebel-held port.
It fuelled speculation about links between North Korea and Libyan rebels.
Jon Ki-chol, deputy director-general of North Korea’s Maritime Administration, said the Morning Glory was operated by an Egypt-based company.
On Wednesday, Libyan government spokesman Habib al-Amin said the navy had fired on the vessel, but failed to disable it.
It sailed eastwards towards Egyptian waters and Libya had asked Egypt and other countries to help stop it, he added.
The tanker was reported to have taken on at least 234,000 barrels of crude at Sidra’s oil terminal.
Its final destination remains unclear.
The Morning Glory was the first vessel to have loaded oil from a rebel-held port since a separatist revolt against the central government in Tripoli erupted in July 2013.
Armed separatists have occupied three major eastern ports since August.
They are seeking a greater share of the country’s oil revenues, as well as autonomy for the historic eastern region of Cyrenaica.
Libya’s parliament has ordered a special force to be deployed to “liberate” all rebel-held oil terminals.
The operation had been due to start within a week but the AFP news agency quotes the head of Libya’s interim parliament, or General National Congress, Nuri Abu Sahmein, as saying the separatists now have two weeks to lift the blockade before the military would be deployed.
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