A tanker bearing the North Korean flag loaded fuel at a rebel-controlled port in Libya on Saturday, apparently unfazed by threats of the Libyan government to fire on the ship.
A spokesman for the National Oil Corporation of Libya said the vessel, named Morning Glory, began loading fuel at the eastern port of Sidra.
The rebels, who are demanding greater autonomy, gained control of three major ports in eastern Libya in August last year, dealing a severe blow to the strife-torn country's oil exports. The Libyan government is furious at attempts by some rebels to export oil themselves.
Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan on Saturday threatened to shell the North Korean tanker and issued arrest warrants for the ship's crew unless they abandoned the attempt by 2 p.m., but the deadline passed without further action.
Sources said that although the tanker carries the North Korean flag, it may not be associated with the isolated country.