Announcement

Foreign Office update on situation in Libya

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Information on the consular situation in Libya and the UK response.

Update at 16:30

The security and wellbeing of British nationals is our absolute priority. We are doing all we can to get them out of Libya, drawing on both military and commercial assets, as well as working with international partners. Our priority is ensuring British nationals can leave Libya as quickly and as safely as soon as possible;

  • As of today (25/02) we have helped around 600 British nationals to depart Libya: approximately 450 directly (by putting on planes, HMS Cumberland or ferries) and 150 by advising and facilitating their departure.
  • We have also assisted nationals from around 25 other countries to leave.
  • The Foreign Office in London has taken more than 1000 calls in the last 24 hrs from BNs wanting to leave Libya, and their family and colleagues in the UK.
  • The Foreign Office has sent over 25 specialist staff to reinforce teams in Malta and Libya.

Tripoli:

Friday

  • A charter departed Tripoli at 23.50 Thursday for London Gatwick, landing at 03.15 Friday. On board there were 130 people, including 53 British nationals.
  • A charter flight to Gatwick has just departed Tripoli (1630 Friday) carrying 34 British Nationals, 18 Canadians and 27 other nationals.
  • 49 British nationals have departed on a US ferry from Tripoli harbour.
  • Another charter flight will depart from Tripoli on Saturday. This is likely to be the last. We recommend that anyone wishing to depart on the UK charter flight travels to the airport as early as possible, in daylight hours.

The security situation at the airport has been deteriorating in recent hours and the route to the airport is becoming more precarious. We continue to monitor the situation closely.

Benghazi:

HMS Cumberland departed from Benghazi yesterday with 202 passengers on board. Approx 68 are British. We expect it to arrive in Malta not before midnight tonight. Bad weather has slowed the crossing.

We are still deeply concerned about those in Benghazi and in the desert and we are urgently continuing to explore all possible options available to us.

FCO support to British nationals:

Numerous Foreign Office staff continue to work day and night to provide the best possible assistance to British Nationals in Libya. We have increased the number of Foreign Office staff working in the call handling centre and engaged a commercial call handling service to further increase capacity.

We currently have one Rapid Deployment Team providing 24 hour support and consular assistance at Tripoli airport. Another RDT - including two Red Cross staff - are on HMS Cumberland assisting passengers on their journey to Malta. A third team from the Embassy in Cairo has gone to the Egypt / Libya border. We will send more if needed. We also have a team in Malta to meet Britons arriving there either by plane or boat.

Update at 10:30

The security and wellbeing of British nationals is our absolute priority. We are doing all we can to get them out of Libya, drawing on both military and commercial assets, as well as working with international partners. Our priority is ensuring British nationals can leave Libya as quickly and as safely as soon as possible;

  • As of today (25/02) we have helped over 500 British nationals to depart Libya.
  • We have also assisted nationals from around 25 other countries to leave.
  • The Foreign Office in London has taken more than 1000 calls in the last 24 hrs from BNs wanting to leave Libya, and their family and colleagues in the UK.
  • The Foreign Office has sent over 25 specialist staff to reinforce teams in Malta and Libya.

Tripoli:

Thursday

  • A charter flight carrying 78 adults and one infant arrived at Gatwick at 0715 Thursday.
  • A FCO-chartered flight arrived in Gatwick at 20.30 on Thursday night. It carried 181 adults and 2 infants. All British nationals who wanted to get on the plane did so and remaining space was offered to eligible foreign nationals.
  • Hercules: A Hercules C130 departed Tripoli airport at 1245 on Thursday carrying 51 British passengers and arrived in Malta at 1530 local time. The passengers joined the FCO chartered plane and returned to London at 2030.

Friday

  • A charter departed Tripoli at 23.50 Thursday for London Gatwick, landing at 03.15 Friday. On board there were 130 people, including 53 British nationals. A charter flight departed Tripoli for London Stansted, including 3 British nationals (no other British nationals were at the airport).
  • A further charter flight is currently on the ground in Tripoli and boarding. We stand by to provide additional FCO charter flights into Tripoli as needed.

The security situation at the airport has been deteriorating in recent hours and the route to the airport is becoming more precarious. We continue to monitor the situation closely.

We are also aware of 42 British nationals currently on a US ferry in Tripoli harbour. We recommend that they stay on board as the route to the airport is now unsafe. Consular staff are in contact with them.

Benghazi:

HMS Cumberland has departed from Benghazi with 207 passengers on board. Approx 68 are British. It will arrive in Valetta, Malta, late today. There is no charge for this assisted departure. Bad weather has slowed the crossing.

FCO support to British nationals:

Numerous FCO staff continue to work day and night to provide the best possible assistance to British Nationals in Libya. We have increased the number of Foreign Office staff working in the call handling centre and engaged a commercial call handling service to further increase capacity.

We currently have one Rapid Deployment Team providing 24 hour support and consular assistance at Tripoli airport. Another RDT - including two Red Cross staff - are on HMS Cumberland assisting passengers on their journey to Malta. A third team from the Embassy in Cairo has gone to the Egypt / Libya border. We will send more if needed.

We also have a team in Malta to meet Britons arriving there either by plane or boat.