Greek ship docks at Crete with evacuatees from Libya

08:39, March 03, 2011      

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Chinese nationals evacuated via the Greek vessel "El. Venizelos" charted by the Chinese government arrive in the southern Greek island of Crete, March 2, 2011. The last Greek vessel charted by the Chinese government ferryed more than 2,100 Chinese nationals evacuated from Libya to Crete. A total of 14,000 evacuees, most of them Chinese, have arrived in Crete. (Xinhua/Wang Qiang)

A Greek-flagged merchant ship carrying 2,141 Chinese nationals evacuated from the chaos in Libya docked at Heraklion on Wednesday.

The "El. Venizelos" sailed from the Libyan port of Misurata to the southern Greek island of Crete. The ship could be the last liner chartered by China's government to withdraw Chinese nationals from the turbulent North African country, according to the Chinese embassy in Greece and Greek officials.

The evacuees, mostly workers in Chinese companies in Libya, celebrated their rescue as they were greeted by Chinese embassy officials and volunteers from Athens.

With the Chinese evacuees was Greek merchant navy mechanic Nikos Soldatos, who works on a Malta-flagged vessel and was stranded at Misurata for five days without communications with his family.

As Soldatos rushed to travel to Athens to reunite with relatives and friends, he described chaotic scenes at Misurata.

"I have been watching thousands of people forming long queues to get on board rescue ships, as exchanges of gunfire was heard at a small distance, in particular during the night," Soldatos said.

Similar scenes have been described by the approximately 14,000 Chinese evacuees who have reached Heraklion since last Thursday, including the passengers of "El. Venizelos."

Source: Xinhua

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