US evacuation ferry held up in Libya by high seas

AP News
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Posted: Feb 23, 2011 6:09 PM
US evacuation ferry held up in Libya by high seas

The United States says inclement weather has delayed a ferry from taking American citizens out of Libya to safety.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley says high seas have kept the boat in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

He said Wednesday U.S. citizens are safe on board the boat. It will leave for Malta when weather permits.

The U.S. has said Americans should leave Libya. But the vessel that would evacuate them was late in reaching Tripoli because of swells in the Mediterranean Sea reaching 5 meters.

The slow evacuation has prevented the Obama administration from taking a tougher line on Moammar Gadhafi's regime amid a fierce crackdown on protesters who've taken over large parts of the country.

U.S. officials say their first priority is ensuring the safety of Americans.