North Korea on Thursday denied any link with the oil tanker Morning Glory that has disappeared after illegally loading oil at a rebel-controlled port in Libya. The tanker flew a North Korean flag.
A spokesman for the North's Maritime Administration told the [North] Korean Central News Agency, "This ship has nothing to do with [North Korea] at present and it has no responsibility whatsoever as regards the ship."
"It is a ship run by Golden East Logistics Company in Alexandria, Egypt, and is allowed to temporarily use the [North Korean] flag for six months in accordance with a contract at the end of February," the spokesman said.
He added that pursuant to the Libyan government's demand on March 8, North Korea strongly complained to the Egyptian company of its breach of contract and told it to stop loading oil and immediately leave the port.
"We also formally notified the Libyan government and the International Maritime Organization that we canceled and deleted the ship's [North Korean] registry and invalidated all the certificates."
There is speculation that the North, which is chronically short of fuel, is only feigning ignorance because it got caught buying oil from Libyan insurgents.