North Korea's Maritime Administration said Wednesday that the North Korea-flagged tanker that left a rebel-held port for loading oil "has nothing to do" with Pyongyang currently, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.
A spokesman for the North Korean agency said that the oil tanker Morning Glory is run by Golden East Logistics Co. in Alexandria, Egypt and "is allowed to temporarily use the DPRK flag for six months" under a contract between the company and the country at the end of February, KCNA said.
DPRK is an acronym for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the country's official name.
The Libyan government informed North Korea on Saturday that the tanker made an oil deal with an armed group in Libya and illegally entered a port in eastern Libya, KCNA said.
North Korea demanded the Egyptian company let the ship leave the port "at once without loading oil," the news agency said.
North Korea formally notified the Libyan government and the International Maritime Organization that it cancelled and deleted the vessel's North Korean registry and invalidated all certificates as the ship violated "the contract that prohibited it from transporting contraband cargo and entering the warring, dispute-torn or natural disaster-affected areas."
"Therefore, the ship has nothing to do with the DPRK at present and it has no responsibility whatsoever as regards the ship," KCNA said quoting the spokesman.
The tanker was reported to have left the port on Tuesday after loading oil. Libya's parliament ousted Prime Minister Ali Zidan after the government failed to block oil exports.
The ship is believed to have already sailed into coastal waters of neighboring Egypt, and Libyan authorities requested countries in the region Wednesday to stop the tanker.