DPRK denies role in oil tanker incident in Libya

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The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has denied responsibility for a DPRK-flagged oil tanker that was suspected of smuggling crude oil from Libya in collaboration with rebels.

The oil tanker, Morning Glory, is an Egyptian ship, which was temporarily using the DPRK flag for six months under a contract with Pyongyang, a spokesman for the Maritime Administration was quoted by the official KCNA news agency as saying.

The DPRK, upon receiving news of the incident, de-registered the ship owned by the Golden East Logistics Company of Egypt, the spokesman said Wednesday.

"The DPRK formally notified the Libyan government and the International Maritime Organization that it canceled and deleted the ship's DPRK registry and invalidated all the certificates as the ship violated the DPRK's law on the registry of ships and the contract that prohibited it from transporting contraband cargo and entering the warring, dispute-torn or natural disaster-affected areas," said the spokesman.

"Therefore, the ship has nothing to do with the DPRK at present and it has no responsibility whatsoever as regards the ship."

On March 8, Libya informed the DPRK of the fact that the ship made an oil contract with an individual armed group in Libya and illegally entered a port under the control of the group in the eastern part of Libya, said the spokesman.

"Right after being informed of the fact by the Libyan side, the DPRK strongly blamed the company side for the violation of the contract (with the DPRK) and demanded it let the ship leave the port at once without loading oil."

The oil tanker, which was taken control by the Libyan navy Monday evening, had reportedly fled the naval forces Tuesday. Libya's parliament ousted Prime Minister Ali Zeidan after the incident.

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