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Ferry With Americans Aboard Leaves Libya

This article is more than 8 years old.

Rough seas stranded thousands of Chinese workers hoping to be evacuated Friday from the chaos in Libya, but the ordeal of hundreds of Americans and other foreigners stuck on a ferry for three days appeared to be over as their ship finally left a Libyan port.

The Maria Dolores, carrying 167 U.S. citizens and 118 other foreigners, left Tripoli's As-shahab port Friday on the eight-hour trip for Valetta, Malta. Its passengers have been aboard the catamaran since Wednesday but high seas prevented it from leaving.

"The ferry carrying American and international citizens from Libya to Malta is finally underway," U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley tweeted.

Tens of thousands of foreigners are trying to flee Libya, with Turks and Chinese climbing aboard ships by the thousands. Europeans are mostly boarding evacuation flights while North Africans race to border crossings in overcrowded vans. A U.S. government chartered aircraft is expected to depart from the Mitiga Air Field near downtown Tripoli for Istanbul later in the day.

The State Department on Friday told Americans wishing to board the flight to make their way to the air field where they will be processed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Long waits are likely and priority will be given to those with medical emergencies.

Bloodshed and rage have marked Libya for days as protesters and backers of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi clashed.

This program aired on February 25, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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