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Libyan evacuees reach ports across Mediterranean

 German Navy Ship "Rheinland Pfalz" arrives at the harbor in Valletta, Malta, Friday, Feb. 25, 2011. Maltese port authorities said the ships "Berlin" ...
 In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese nationals wait for Greek vessels chartered by the Chinese government, which are pulling...
 Evacuees from different countries queue to board a ship to be evacuate from Benghazi sea port, Libya, on Friday Feb. 25, 2011. Tens of thousands of f...
 Evacuees from different countries queue to board a ship to be evacuate from Benghazi sea port, Libya, on Friday Feb. 25, 2011. Tens of thousands of f...
 Evacuees from different countries queue to board a ship to be evacuate from Benghazi sea port, Libya, on Friday Feb. 25, 2011. Tens of thousands of f...
 Evacuees from different countries queue to board a ship to be evacuate from Benghazi sea port, Libya, on Friday Feb. 25, 2011. Tens of thousands of f...
 Evacuees of many nationalities queue to board a ship to be evacuate from Benghazi sea port, Libya, on Friday Feb. 25, 2011. Militias loyal to Moammar...
 Evacuees from different countries queue to board a ship to be evacuate from Benghazi sea port, Libya, on Friday Feb. 25, 2011. Tens of thousands of f...
 A ferry carrying Americans and other foreigners arrives at the harbor in Valletta, Malta, Friday, Feb. 25, 2011. The Maria Dolores ferry left Tripoli...
 Evacuees from different countries queue to board a ship to be evacuate from Benghazi sea port, Libya, on Friday Feb. 25, 2011.  Tens of thousands of ...
 Passengers disembark from a ferry carrying Americans and other foreigners which arrived at the harbor in Valletta, Malta, Friday, Feb. 25, 2011. Afte...
 Evacuees from different countries queue to board a ship to be evacuate from Benghazi sea port, Libya, on Friday Feb. 25, 2011. Tens of thousands of f...
 An American evacuee from Libya speaks to a U.S. embassy official, right, after his arrival at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, Feb. 2...
 Britain Royal Navy HMS Cumberland carrying British citizens evacuating from Benghazi, arrives at the harbor in Valletta, Malta, Saturday, Feb. 26, 20...
 Passengers disembark from Britain Royal Navy HMS Cumberland at the harbor in Valletta, Malta, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011. The HMS Cumberland evacuated B...
 Passengers disembark from Britain Royal Navy HMS Cumberland at the harbor in Valletta, Malta, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011. The HMS Cumberland evacuated B...
 In this photo provided by Britain's Ministry of Defence, a crew member helps a young passenger ashore from British naval ship HMS Cumberland in Malta...
 In this photo provided by Britain's Ministry of Defence, Surgeon Lt. Alex Shaw, left, welcomes passengers ashore from British naval ship HMS Cumberla...
 In this photo provided by Britain's Ministry of Defence, Leading Seaman Mamie Battersby carries a child ashore from British naval ship HMS Cumberland...
 In this photo provided by Britain's Ministry of Defence, Leading Logistician Michelle King helps a young passenger ashore from British naval ship HMS...
 A group of repatriated Filipino workers from Libya wave upon their arrival Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at Manila's international airport, Philippines. Th...
 Chinese citizens wait aboard the "Palermo Grimaldi" ferry at the harbor in Valletta, Malta, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011, after being evacuated from Bengh...
 Chinese citizens wait aboard the "Palermo Grimaldi" ferry at the harbor in Valletta, Malta, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011, after being evacuated from Bengh...
 In this photo provided by the Dutch Defense Ministry and taken Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011, passengers are seen aboard a Netherlands' C130 military aircr...
 Cuban dissidents in Spain hold a banner reading: "Cuba democracy now!" during a rally outside the Cuban Embassy in Madrid Saturday Feb. 26, 2011. The...

Malta Germany Libya

German Navy Ship "Rheinland Pfalz" arrives at the harbor in Valletta, Malta, Friday, Feb. 25, 2011. Maltese port authorities said the ships "Berlin" ...

APTOPIX Libya China Evacuations

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese nationals wait for Greek vessels chartered by the Chinese government, which are pulling...

Libya Evacuations

Evacuees from different countries queue to board a ship to be evacuate from Benghazi sea port, Libya, on Friday Feb. 25, 2011. Tens of thousands of f...

Libya

Evacuees from different countries queue to board a ship to be evacuate from Benghazi sea port, Libya, on Friday Feb. 25, 2011. Tens of thousands of f...

Libya Evacuations

Evacuees from different countries queue to board a ship to be evacuate from Benghazi sea port, Libya, on Friday Feb. 25, 2011. Tens of thousands of f...

Libya Evacuations

Evacuees from different countries queue to board a ship to be evacuate from Benghazi sea port, Libya, on Friday Feb. 25, 2011. Tens of thousands of f...

Libya

Evacuees of many nationalities queue to board a ship to be evacuate from Benghazi sea port, Libya, on Friday Feb. 25, 2011. Militias loyal to Moammar...

Libya

Evacuees from different countries queue to board a ship to be evacuate from Benghazi sea port, Libya, on Friday Feb. 25, 2011. Tens of thousands of f...

Malta US Libya Evacuations

A ferry carrying Americans and other foreigners arrives at the harbor in Valletta, Malta, Friday, Feb. 25, 2011. The Maria Dolores ferry left Tripoli...

Libya

Evacuees from different countries queue to board a ship to be evacuate from Benghazi sea port, Libya, on Friday Feb. 25, 2011. Tens of thousands of ...

Malta Libya Evacuations

Passengers disembark from a ferry carrying Americans and other foreigners which arrived at the harbor in Valletta, Malta, Friday, Feb. 25, 2011. Afte...

APTOPIX Libya

Evacuees from different countries queue to board a ship to be evacuate from Benghazi sea port, Libya, on Friday Feb. 25, 2011. Tens of thousands of f...

Turkey Libya Evacuations

An American evacuee from Libya speaks to a U.S. embassy official, right, after his arrival at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, Feb. 2...

Malta Britain Libya

Britain Royal Navy HMS Cumberland carrying British citizens evacuating from Benghazi, arrives at the harbor in Valletta, Malta, Saturday, Feb. 26, 20...

Malta Britain Libya

Passengers disembark from Britain Royal Navy HMS Cumberland at the harbor in Valletta, Malta, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011. The HMS Cumberland evacuated B...

Malta Britain Libya

Passengers disembark from Britain Royal Navy HMS Cumberland at the harbor in Valletta, Malta, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011. The HMS Cumberland evacuated B...

Libya Evacuations

In this photo provided by Britain's Ministry of Defence, a crew member helps a young passenger ashore from British naval ship HMS Cumberland in Malta...

Libya Evacuations

In this photo provided by Britain's Ministry of Defence, Surgeon Lt. Alex Shaw, left, welcomes passengers ashore from British naval ship HMS Cumberla...

Libya Evacuations

In this photo provided by Britain's Ministry of Defence, Leading Seaman Mamie Battersby carries a child ashore from British naval ship HMS Cumberland...

Libya Evacuations

In this photo provided by Britain's Ministry of Defence, Leading Logistician Michelle King helps a young passenger ashore from British naval ship HMS...

Philippines Libya Evacuation

A group of repatriated Filipino workers from Libya wave upon their arrival Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at Manila's international airport, Philippines. Th...

APTOPIX Malta Libya Evacuations

Chinese citizens wait aboard the "Palermo Grimaldi" ferry at the harbor in Valletta, Malta, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011, after being evacuated from Bengh...

Malta Libya Evacuations

Chinese citizens wait aboard the "Palermo Grimaldi" ferry at the harbor in Valletta, Malta, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011, after being evacuated from Bengh...

Netherlands Libya Evacuation

In this photo provided by the Dutch Defense Ministry and taken Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011, passengers are seen aboard a Netherlands' C130 military aircr...

Spain Cuba

Cuban dissidents in Spain hold a banner reading: "Cuba democracy now!" during a rally outside the Cuban Embassy in Madrid Saturday Feb. 26, 2011. The...

Mediterranean ports overflowed with thousands of evacuees from strife-torn Libya on Saturday, and thousands more foreigners were still scrambling to flee the North African nation by sea, air or land.
British officials said security around the airport in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, was deteriorating rapidly and urged its citizens to leave.
More than 2,800 Chinese workers landed Saturday in Heraklion on the Greek island of Crete aboard a Greek ship. Further to the west, another 2,200 Chinese arrived in Valletta, the capital of Malta, after a long journey from the eastern Libyan port of Benghazi. Hours earlier, in the dark of night, a U.S-chartered ferry dropped off over 300 passengers in Valletta who spent three days waiting to leave Libya's chaotic capital.
The sheer numbers of foreigners leaving Libya as Moammar Gadhafi's regime attacks anti-government protesters has been staggering. As of Saturday, at least 16,000 Chinese, 15,000 Turks and 1,400 Italians had been evacuated, most working in the construction and oil industries.
In addition, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council that some 22,000 people have fled across the Libyan border to Tunisia and another 15,000 crossed the border into Egypt.
"There are widespread reports of refugees being harassed and threatened with guns and knives," Ban said, adding that many who managed to cross the border said their trips were "terrifying."
A Boeing 737 charter flight with 148 seats _ likely the last flight organized by the British government _ was to arrive in Tripoli later Saturday and return to London within hours. All Britons still in Tripoli have been urged to board the plane.
"The security situation at the airport has been deteriorating in recent hours and the route to the airport is becoming more precarious," the Foreign Office said.
Britain also chartered a plane Saturday from Valletta's airport to bring home a group of Britons.
The Chinese who arrived in Valletta immediately headed to the airport to board flights back home, according to Maltese authorities.
Earlier in Valletta, women holding babies and other passengers walked down a ramp to solid land after an eight-hour voyage across the choppy Mediterranean Sea.
"Oh, it was a long ordeal. We are glad it's over," said evacuee Sara Ali, a 30-year-old with dual Libyan-American citizenship. "We're just really tired and really happy to be out and safe."
The passengers had been stuck aboard the catamaran ferry since Wednesday, blocked by strong winds and high seas from leaving Tripoli.
"It was pretty uncomfortable just because of the delay," said Lucile Usielmerazcerna, an evacuee from Santa Cruz, California. "It was really rough waters coming over here, also having to stay in the dock for two or three days."
Americans living in Libya were told as early as Feb. 20 to depart and were given help leaving the country, a U.S. State Department spokesman said Saturday.
"We are unaware of large pockets of Americans who wished to evacuate but did not. However, we are aware that there may be Americans still in Libya that may need assistance departing," said Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Philip J. Crowley.
He said Americans left on Dutch, British, Canadian, Turkish and other government-sponsored evacuations.
In Crete, the Chinese government chartered four ferries and 11 hotels, and was having special flights to China on Saturday aboard two Air China jumbo jets.
Two more Greek ships left Benghazi on Saturday, one headed for the port of Piraeus with 400 evacuees and another, carrying mostly Chinese nationals, for Heraklion. A third ferry, also carrying mostly Chinese nationals, was still docked in Benghazi and huge lines of workers were snaking their way on board.
Since it takes up to 13 hours to travel between Benghazi and Heraklion, some 4,200 people were expected to arrive Sunday in Crete, port authorities and shipping agents said.
Local media reports in Crete said the Philippines government has also expressed an interest in evacuated 4,500 of its citizens in Libya to Crete.
A Turkish navy frigate, the TCG Orucreis, and a navy personnel carrier, the TCG Iskenderun, left Benghazi early Saturday, carrying 1,221 Turks and 517 other nationals, including Vietnamese and Bosnians. The ships were expected to reach Marmaris, on Turkey's Mediterranean coast, on Monday.
Twelve Turkish C-130 and C-160 military transport planes, meanwhile, continued to airlift hundreds more Turks from Tripoli, and a Turkish Airlines plane brough in 2 tons of food for the embassy to hand out to Turks still stranded in Libya.
Italy said about 25 Italians were stuck in Amal, in southern Libya, while 150 employees of an Italian company remained stranded for a second day at the border with Tunisia.
Enrico Giurelli, captain of Italy's San Giorgio military ship, which set sail Friday carrying 250 people, mostly Europeans, said the passengers were in good condition and the ship would arrive in Catania, Sicily, on Sunday.
About 300 Serbs were still waiting in the central Libyan port city of Ras Lanuf, a major oil refining center, for a ship to pick them up. Serbia also sent a plane Saturday morning to pick up 52 Serbians from Sabha, in southwestern Libya.
Some 100 Croats were expected to arrive home Saturday evening after being evacuated.
___
Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Anita Chang in Beijing, Alessandra Rizzo in Rome, APTN's Mark Carlson and Photo's Gregorio Borgia in Malta, Jovana Gec in Belgrade and Derek Gatopoulos in Athens, Greece contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-10-16 23:14 GMT+08:00