After decades, the first passenger ferry from Libya docked at the Aegean coast in the Izmir province of Turkey. The ferry, “Kevalay Queen,” departed from Misrata, the Libyan port. The ferry, carrying 107 passengers anchored down at the Alsancak Port in Izmir and this was the first time in 25 years that the route has been used.
Speaking to reporters, an expert said: “The ship arrived in Izmir in three days. There was a storm in Izmir on Saturday. Because of this, there was a one-day disruption.” The average ferry crossing to Turkey takes 48 hours.
The expert went on to say: “We could enhance these expeditions to different cities in the coming period. It will contribute to both the trade and tourism in the cities such as Marmaris, Antalya, Istanbul, and Bursa.”
Misrata in Libya
As the third-largest city in Libya, Misrata is about 125 miles (200km) to the east of Tripoli and where many Turkish businesses are based. Ferries like the Kevalay Queen that docked in Izmir can carry passengers, vehicles and loads and have approximately 500 beds, a seating capacity of 700, and space to house about 520 vehicles.
Maritime Delimitation Deal
November 2019 saw Libya and Turkey embark on a maritime delimitation deal that set out a legal model to stop any misunderstandings by any of the regions close by. The agreement established that Libya and Turkey were maritime neighbours, and as such, these reinstated trips would contribute further to the relations between the two countries. It is said that this agreement also prevented the Greek government from taking over vast parts of Libya when the political crisis hit the country in 2011.
Areas in the Delimitation Zone
The defining areas in the zone begin on the southwestern Turkish coast incorporating Fethiye-Marmaris-Kas and extend to the Libyan coastline of Derna-Tobruk-Bordia.
The expert explained that: “Libya will play an important role in the supply of developing Africa. Turkey’s geopolitical position is important in logistics. If we add Libya, the cooperation of the two countries will play a serious role both in the products entering Africa and, in the products, to be distributed from Africa to the world. We have a relationship, a culture with Libya dating back 500 years. We look at Libya as a brother country.”
The ferry trips are planned to go ahead once a week, potentially increasing during the summer months.
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