Friday, February 25, 2011

Ferry Sails for Malta; Arrives Safely

Updated 3:50 p.m. est

The U.S.-commissioned ferry that had been docked for more than 2 1/2 days in Tripoli finally departed Libya today headed for Malta. It arrived in Malta shortly before 3 p.m est.

Meanwhile, White House spokesman Jay Carney said in addition to the ferry from Tripoli, a charter flight carrying Americans, including the last of embassy staff, also departed Libya today destined for Turkey. The U.S. embassy in Tripoli is now closed.

"It's been shuttered," Carney said of the embassy.

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The people aboard are said to be relieved and were happy to get a hot meal overnight, according to a reporter from MSNBC who spoke to a passenger aboard the ferry.

"The ferry carrying American and international citizens from Libya to Malta is finally underway. The trip will take roughly eight hours," State Departments spokesman P.J. Crowley said on Twitter.

"More than 300 passengers are on board the U.S.-chartered ferry from Libya to Malta. Additional passengers were added before departure," Crowley wrote in a separate Tweet.

Most of the U.S. citizens and others remained on the ferry since Wednesday, waiting for choppy seas to settle before they set sail for Malta

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Aboard the Maria Dolores ferry as of yesterday were 40 U.S. citizens who work for the U.S. government and their families, 127 private U.S. citizens and 118 citizens from other nations. There are also U.S. security and State Department personnel on the ferry, and other forces nearby.

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