Libyan rebels tell Tripoli rescue ship not to dock

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 23, 2011 6:18 AM

GENEVA (Reuters) - Libyan rebels told a rescue ship not to dock at Tripoli port on Tuesday because conditions were "not optimum," leaving thousands of foreigners stranded at their embassies and waiting for the all clear to leave.

"Until yesterday we believed that the port area was under the control of the opposition forces but overnight they told us to wait and not to dock," Jean-Phillipe Chauzy, spokesman for International Organization for Migration which chartered the vessel, said at a regular news briefing in Geneva.

He said about 1,700 Filipinos, 2,000 Bangladeshis and 1,500-2,000 Egyptians had asked to be rescued and were "ready to go" and thought to be waiting near their embassies.

The ship, with a capacity of 300, was due to pick up a contingent of Filipinos on Tuesday, and two or three other ships with capacity of around 1,000 people each could arrive within 48-72 hours, he said.

"We can crank up the operation very quickly as soon as we have clearance to dock in the port of Tripoli," he said.

(Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Elizabeth Fullerton)