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North Korea disowns Libya oil tanker








North Korean-flagged oil tanker at SidraThe tanker was said to have broken through a naval blockade

North Korea had nothing to do with a 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 Prime Minister 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.

Mr Jon, deputy director-general of North Korea’s Maritime Administration, said the Morning Glory was operated by an Egypt-based company.


‘Liberate’

On Wednesday, Libyan government spokesman Habib al-Amin said the navy had fired on the vessel, but failed to disable it.


Map showing the region of CyrenaicaLibyan regions had federal powers from 1951 to 1963

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.

Defence Minister Abdullah al-Thinni was appointed prime minister after Mr Zeidan lost a confidence vote in parliament.

Libya has been plagued by instability since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, with the government struggling to assert its authority over the armed groups who helped topple him.

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