Ship aims to rescue foreigners from Tripoli if needed

Mon Aug 22, 2011 12:19pm GMT
 

GENEVA Aug 22 (Reuters) - A ship capable of evacuating 300 foreigners will arrive in Tripoli on Tuesday, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Monday.

However, the Geneva-based IOM said that with events moving rapidly in the Libyan capital it was not clear if the ship would be given access to the port, or whether the potential passengers would still want to be rescued.

Libyan government tanks and snipers put up scattered, last-ditch resistance in Tripoli on Monday after rebels swept into the heart of the capital, cheered on by crowds hailing the end of Muammar Gaddafi's 42 years in power.

Altogether 5,000 people had registered with their embassies asking to be evacuated, said the IOM.

IOM spokeswoman Jemini Pandya said the organisation did not know how may have changed their minds about leaving. "If things calm down they might decide they don't want to go," she said, adding that some people might want to stick with their jobs or might have no home to go back to.

The vessel, the Tasucu, left the port of Benghazi in eastern Libya on Monday. (Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by David Stamp)

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