Thursday, March 13, 2014

N.Korea denies connection with Libya oil tanker

Maritime officials in North Korea say Pyongyang is not responsible for a tanker that left a rebel-controlled Libyan port with a shipment of crude oil and fled Libya's naval forces.

The North Korea-flagged tanker docked at Es Sider port in eastern Libya on Saturday. Rebels loaded crude oil onto the ship, which sailed out to sea on Tuesday as Libya's navy tried to stop it.

Government officials in Libya say the oil export is illegal.

North Korea's maritime administration issued a statement on Thursday to say the tanker belongs to an Egyptian company.

It said North Korea signed a contract with the firm in February allowing the ship to use its flag for a 6-month period.

The statement says North Korea notified the Libyan government and the International Maritime Organization that it cancelled the flag registration due to contract violation.

It says North Korea no longer has anything to do with the tanker.

Sources say the development may be a move by North Korea to import oil from Libya's anti-government forces, despite the denial.