On Sunday thousands of locals and foreign workers in the Libyan coastal city of Misrata endured escalating attacks as pro-Gadhafi forces pummeled the area with rocket fire.

Salvation is uncertain and comes only by sea, as the Geneva-based humanitarian group International Organization for Migration speeds a leased car ferry back and forth across the Mediterranean in a race against both an advancing army and the looming travel plans of European vacationers. — ARK


In the end, the Ionian Spirit managed to board nearly 1,200 foreign workers. Left behind were several thousand more, clustered in makeshift camps, as well as Libyans desperate for a safe haven. Haslam says the International Organization for Migration needs money to continue these runs, and making several trips with fewer vessels is hardly ideal.

[…] Time is not on their side for another reason: Leased vessels like the Ionian Spirit are due back to their European runs soon — to handle Easter holiday traffic.

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