Video: Tired workers glad to be back from Tripoli - kidnapped Italians among evacuees
Workers evacuated from Libya had relief showing all over their faces this morning as they finally disembarked in Grand Harbour after a difficult crossing from Libya on the small Maltese-chartered ship Triva 1.
The ship entered Grand Harbour at 11.30 a.m. after a 36-hour trip in rough seas.
Those on board included Maltese worker Mark Attard and members of his family.
Also on board were four Italian journalists who a few days ago had been held hostage by Gaddafi loyalists near Tripoli, and another three Italians who were released from a Tripoli prison.
An Austrian manager of the Rixos Hotel - where foreign journalists were held as Tripoli was taken over by the rebels - also came to Malta but said he intends to go back to Tripoli.
A British surgeon said as he disembarked that Tripoli is lacking food, water and electricity and the hospitals had been 'overwhelmed.'
The ship also brought to Malta a Dutch model who was allegedly a girlfriend of one of Colonel Gaddafi's sons, Muttasim.
Talitha van Zon claimed, according to reports in the British press, that the rebels who captured her had threatened to 'burn her alive'. She escaped by jumping from a hotel balcony, breaking an arm. (see video)
Mr Attard said the situation in Tripoli was 'difficult' and he was glad to be back in Malta after the rough trip.
The former Italian hostages said the situation was 'so-and-so' in the Libyan capital, but they were ready to return once the security situation improved.
This had been the ship's second attempt to berth in Tripoli, after having been forced to abort its first attempt a week ago because of gunfire in the harbour. The ship then returned to Grand Harbour for a crew change and headed back to Tripoli.
Some workers stranded in Libya have also been able to come to Malta on a ship chartered by the I-GO aid foundation, which has been ferrying medical supplies to Libya.
Other workers were evacuated to Benghazi on two ships sent by the International Migration Organisation.
However no other Maltese are seeking evacuation.
Vanessa Frazier, director of defence at the Office of the Prime Minister, said that Malta was so far the only EU country which had sought to evacuate its nationals from Tripoli. She said that when Malta asked other countries and the EU itself to help in further evacuation trips, no funding had been forthcoming.
A water tanker is also due to leave Malta for Tripoli today. The ship will carry 300 tons of water.