The Philippines released on Tuesday a North Korean cargo ship with its 21 North Korean crew it seized earlier in this month, after the ship was cleared by the United Nations.
Philippines seized the North Korean freighter March 5 due to the United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang over its nuclear programme.
"In compliance with the United Nations resolution, the North Korean ship in Subic will be impounded and not allowed to leave port," Pacific nations foreign ministry spokesman Charles Jose had said before.
Coastguard spokesman Commander Armand Balilo asserts that the M/V Jin Teng, a 6,830 deadweight tonne (dwt) cargo ship with its 21 North Korean crew left on Tuesday afternoon, after after clearing immigration, customs, quarantine.
"At the policy level, there is no more basis to continue to hold M/V Jin Teng after UN Security Council delisted it from the annex of UNSC Resolution 2270," Charles Jose, a foreign ministry spokesman, said in a text message.
No team from the United Nations came to inspect the ship. The UN resolution had said 31 North Korean ships are economic resources controlled or operated by Ocean Maritime Management and therefore subject to the asset freeze.
However, UN Security Council agreed to remove sanctions on four ships blacklisted for ties to Pyongyang's arms trade earlier this week at the request of China.