N’Korea denies involvement in Libya oil controversy

Libyan oil exports13 April 2014, News Wires – North Korea has denied any involvement in an incident which occurred in a Libyan rebel-held port when an oil tanker loaded with a $30 million cargo fled the state.

The country said on Thursday in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency that the vessel that carried its flag was operated by an Egyptian firm.

The incident marked the first shipment of Libyan crude bypassing the government and resulted in an embarrassment for Tripoli as it struggles to keep control of the country.

Libya’s parliament sacked Prime Minister Ali Zeidan on Tuesday after rebels loaded the crude on the North Korean-flagged tanker.

Zeidan lost a vote of confidence after it emerged the tanker Morning Glory had made it to international waters.

He previously alleged the tanker was under the control of the government.

The tanker fled naval forces with reports of a gunfight breaking out as it sailed off.

In its official statement, North Korea said the tanker violated laws and a contract with an Alexandria-based company by carrying the contraband cargo.

“Therefore, the ship has nothing to do with the [Democratic Republic of North Korea] at present and it has no responsibility whatsoever as regards the ship,” the North’s Maritime Administration said.

The Morning Glory docked at the rebel-held port of Es Sider on Saturday and began loading oil.

On Monday, Zeidan called for the crew’s arrest and Libyan officials threatened to bomb the vessel.

The General National Congress then issued a decree ordering the rapid assembly of a military taskforce to seize back control of all rebel-held ports.

– Upstream

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