‘Home at last’: Ferry packed with U.S. citizens fleeing Libya has finally arrived in Malta

Headline updated from, Libya unrest: Hundreds of U.S. citizens STILL stranded as Obama pressure to act grows

Oliver Tree
Daily Mail [UK]
25th February 2011

  • Boat packed with U.S. citizens lands in Malta
  • Experts ask why a bigger boat wasn’t used like the Greeks and Turkish
  • Libyans refuse to let U.S. chartered planes land

A ferry carrying hundreds of Americans trapped in Libya has finally landed in Malta.

The 167 stranded U.S. citizens have been holed up on the Maria Dolores since Wednesday, as rough weather had previously prevented the ship from leaving Tripoli.

The Dolores left Tripoli at 6:37 am EST and docked this evening in Valetta, Malta.

Glad to be safe: The Dolores had a number of children on board (click on the image for a larger view)

…According to the State Department there are 285 passengers on board the Dolores, including 167 U.S. citizens and 118 people of other nationalities.

Another unidentified British woman who was a tourist in Libya said: ‘The scariest part was hearing gunshots in our hotel.

‘The crossing was quite rough but there was plenty of food on board. At least we were warm and dry unlike those at the airport.’

Malta’s Valletta Harbor was full of EU warships from France, Germany, Britain and Malta. The port is known for its cruise ships, and tourists were busy snapping photos of the warships, while air forces from all around the EU, including Germany, Ireland, Austria and Britain, are holding ground in Malta.

President Obama has been under intense criticism for his muted response to the bloodshed in Libya, with speculation that Colonel Gaddafi had intimidated the White House into silence by blocking the evacuation of U.S. citizens.

And last night, while the Dolores remained stranded, the president enjoyed a White House pop concert in celebration of Black History month. [Emphasis CAJ]

Tony Munoz Editor of shipping magazine The Maritime Executive said: ‘I don’t understand why this vessel didn’t leave earlier – The Maria Dolores is a new vessel built for Mediterranean seas.

‘I can only imagine the captain was refusing to sail because he felt the vessel was not capable enough of taking the sea on.

Speaking to MailOnline, Mr Munoz said that there was no comparison between the 68 metre Dolores and the 204 metre Hellenic Spirit, used by the Greek government to evacuate its citizens from Benghazi.

‘The U.S. needed to charter a bigger boat like the Greeks’ he said.

‘The fully hulled Spirit will be more durable outside a port, this much bigger vessel could take the rough seas on.

‘There is no question about it, they [U.S.] should have been out of there long ago – why haven’t they chartered a bigger boat like the Greeks or Turkish.

‘At the very least, the government should have had a larger back up vessel on the way.’
The entire article, with additional photos, is at the Daily Mail.

H/T GatewayPundit

Update: Gaddafi vows to crush protesters, video and article at Al Jazeera English. And Videos Reveal Mass Executions of Soldiers Who Refused to Shoot Protesters at Weasel Zippers.

Update 2: Last night Anderson Cooper spoke by phone with a Libyan woman, terrified and trapped in her home in Tripoli. This article at Business Insider has video from CNN.

Update 3: And, if you care about the celebrity-of-Obama crap, therightscoop has video of Obama’s Motown bash.

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