A North Korean-flagged tanker that loaded crude oil from a rebel-held terminal in eastern Libya ran a blockade of navy warships sent to intercept it.
The Morning Glory is now in international waters, rebels and a state oil company official said.
The vessel had docked at Es Sider Saturday and took on at least 234,000 barrels of crude, according to reports.
“The tanker left and is now in international waters,” Reuters quoted Mohammad Hitab, spokesman for the state-run al-Waha Oil Company, as saying.
The central government in Tripoli threatened to bomb the tanker if it tried to leave with crude oil bought directly from rebels without authorization from of the state-owned Libyan National Oil Corporation.
On Sunday, Libyan officials said they were in “complete control” of the tanker at Es Sider.
Reports Tuesday said the Libyan government blamed bad weather for the navy’s failure to prevent the tanker from sailing out to the Mediterranean.