First ferry between Turkey and Libya sets sail after four decades

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For the first time in 40 years, a passenger ferry on Wednesday set sail from the Libyan port of Misrata to Turkey's Izmir province

Libya has not been serviced by any international ferries for the past 25 years.

Travel links with and within the country were severely disrupted by the 2011 insurgency that overthrew longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi, and years of unrest which followed.

The restoration of the ferry service has come as a welcome news to many including passengers.

"We are looking forward during the coming period to a number of other trips. We have approvals for Alexandria and Tunisia." Said Taha Hadid, commercial director of Misrata Marine Terminal.

One of the many passengers Abdallah Mohammed, was excited to see this day.

"After a break of more than forty or fifty years, Libya returns to sailing the sea with this ship, praise be to God."

During Kadhafi's rule, from 1969, the country was under sanctions and largely closed to tourists.

Misrata, about 200 kilometres (125 miles) east of Tripoli, is home to numerous Turkish businesses.

Air travel has also begun to return.

Airports were severely damaged in Libya's struggle and many air links were suspended, but some have resumed since an October 2020 ceasefire between the main rival camps.

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