A chartered ferry carrying about 2,900 Chinese nationals evacuated from violence-wrecked Libya arrived at the island of Crete on Saturday.
Braving rough seas, the Greek-flagged “Eleftherios Venizelos” left Benghazi, Libya, on Friday, carrying 2,898 Chinese and 13 citizens of other nationalities to safety.
The arrival was part of a major operation undertaken by the Chinese government in coordination with Greek authorities to rescue a total of 6,000 Chinese workers from the North African country.
Exhausted from the adventure and at the same time excited for their rescue, the evacuees were warmly welcomed in heavy rain by Luo Linquan, the Chinese ambassador to Greece, and Greek officials.
Shortly afterwards, following a passport control conducted on the ship, the evacuees were given water and sandwiches and transferred to hotels until their return to China aboard chartered flights.
Similar scenes unfolded on Thursday, when the first two chartered Greek liners, “Hellenic Spirit” and “Olympic Champion” sailed to Heraklion from Benghazi with more than 4,200 Chinese from Libya aboard.
“Hellenic Spirit” and “Olympic Champion” then left the Greek port on Thursday evening. They are picking up more Chinese evacuees from Benghazi.
Chinese embassy officials and Greek authorities have made all preparations so that the evacuees will be offered medical aid and accommodations until they are flown home.
The first two chartered flights sent by the Chinese government were expected to reach Crete on Saturday afternoon and then return some 500 Chinese evacuees back home.
Greek authorities said there will probably be four to six flights from Crete to China every day in the coming days to pick up all the Chinese nationals evacuated to Crete.
Source: Xinhua. Athens News