Valletta is the closest post to Tripoli so Malta as safe-haven destination makes sense. The US Embassy in Tripoli late today sent out a warden message announcing the evacuation via ferry to Malta starting tomorrow, February 23. That trip looks close on the map but actually takes six hours by ferry boat.
|Map extracted from CIA World Factbook|
U.S. Government Chartered Ferry Evacuation
February 22, 2011
A U.S. Government chartered ferry will depart Tripoli from the As-shahab Port in central Tripoli, located on the sea road across from the Radisson Blu Mahari Hotel, for Valletta, Malta on Wednesday, February 23. Processing of passengers will begin promptly at 10:00 a.m. local time. U.S. citizen travelers wishing to depart should proceed as soon as possible after 9:00 a.m. to the pier and arrive no later than 10:00 a.m. U.S. citizens will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority given to persons with medical emergencies or severe medical conditions. The ferry will depart no later than 3:00 p.m.
Travelers should bring valid travel documents and any necessary medications.
Each traveler may bring one suitcase and a small personal carry-on item. Although pets are allowed on the ferry, any pets transported to Malta must meet stringent European Union requirements, which can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/liveanimals/pets/ list_third_en.htm. The U.S. Embassies in Tripoli and Valletta are unable to assist U.S. citizens in obtaining the necessary documents and/or meeting other EU requirements for pet travel. Please note it is routine for pets to be rigorously examined and quarantined for six weeks upon entering Malta. Kenneling to meet Maltese pet requirements will be at the expense of the owner.
U.S. citizens seeking evacuation should be prepared to wait several hours. Travelers are advised to bring food, water, diapers and other necessary toiletries with them to the pier.
U.S. citizens requesting evacuation on U.S. Government-chartered transport must sign paperwork promising to reimburse the U.S. Government for transportation costs at a later date. Exact transportation costs are not yet available, but will be comparable to a one-way commercial ferry trip of a comparable distance on the date of travel. U.S. citizens who travel on U.S. Government–chartered transport will be expected to make their own onward travel plans from Malta.
Immediate family members (spouses and children) who are not U.S. citizens must be documented for entry into the safe haven country and/or the United States, if that is your final destination. A U.S. citizen child may be escorted by one adult, preferably a parent, who has appropriate travel documents. If a family has more than one U.S. citizen child, the one-adult rule still applies. All U.S. citizen travelers and their spouses and children, are required to have valid travel documents. The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli will assist U.S. citizens with travel documents. U.S. citizens who do not hold a valid U.S. passport or visa and are interested in departing Libya via U.S. Government-chartered transportation should contact the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Embassy Tripoli by sending an email to LibyaEmergencyUSC@state.gov or by calling 1-202-501-4444.
Active links added above. Also see the WaPo story here on U.S. still awaiting Libya’s permission to evacuate Americans.