Security concerns delay Tripoli evacuation ship: IOM

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A ship chartered to evacuate around 300 foreigners from Tripoli is unable to dock as scheduled due to the poor security situation, the International Organisation for Migration said Tuesday.

"Poor security conditions at the port in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, will delay the docking of an IOM-chartered boat" which had been due to arrive late Tuesday, the IOM said.

"We urgently call on all parties to allow IOM to carry out its humanitarian work in safety and begin evacuating the many thousands of migrants who want to leave Tripoli," IOM director general William Lacy Swing said in the statment.

It added that the ship will remain off the coast of Tripoli until the security situation has improved "and the safety of staff and migrants can be guaranteed."

The IOM said that "thousands" of foreigners, including Egyptians, Bangladeshis, Filipinos had been seeking ways to leave the embattled capital.

"Many more, including sub-Saharan Africans who live on he outskirts of Tripoli and who have not been able to reach embassies, might also require assistance," the IOM said.

With rebels having entered western Tripoli on Sunday after clashes with pro-government forces, foreign journalists in the capital also received IOM passes to be evacuated.

"We have seen with our Misrata operations at the height of the conflict there that migrants were often the innocent victims of the violence," Swing said.

"This must not be the case again," he added.

© 2011 AFP

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