Ten days after democratic protests erupted in Libya, the country has spiraled into a civil war between the Gaddafi Regime and revolutionaries. The speed of the state’s collapse left many governments unprepared to evacuate their citizens trapped in the country. In addition to numerous private ferries, by my count no less than eight navies have deployed or are prepared to deploy to the Libyan coast. Here is a running tally:

United Kingdom

Cameron, speaking after chairing a meeting of Britain’s National Security Council on the crisis, said six flights had left Libya in the past 24 hours carrying Britons, and a Navy frigate, HMS Cumberland, had evacuated Britons and other foreigners from the port of Benghazi.

Cameron said he had also asked a Navy destroyer, HMS York, “to go into the area to help out as necessary.” He strongly urged Britons still in Libya to leave immediately. [Source]


Three German navy ships were making their way to Libya on Thursday to stand by to evacuate German nationals if needed.


The vessels, which have 600 sailors on board, comprises two frigates and a supply ship, the spokesman said. [Source]


The HNLMS Tromp was on its way to Somalia to take part in NATO’s anti-piracy operation there, but is now expected to arrive off the coast of Libya on Friday. The air defence and command vessel – which left the Dutch navy base at Den Helder just two weeks ago – will now leave the Red Sea and pass through the Suez Canal once again over the next few days as it heads north.

A KDC-10 transport plane of the Royal Dutch Air Force is now due to fly out today to the Libyan capital, Tripoli, to evacuate Dutch citizens. [Source]

United States

The U.S. military is moving ships closer to Libya, a Pentagon official said on Monday, as the Obama administration stepped up calls for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to step down.

“We are moving ships closer to Libya in case they are needed,” said Colonel David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman [Source]

South Korea

Korea urgently dispatched the 4,500-ton Choi Young KDX-II destroyer, which is carrying out anti-piracy duties in the Gulf of Aden, to waters off Libya to support the evacuation of Koreans in the turbulent country, a Defense Ministry spokesman said Thursday. [Source]


Sure enough, last week brought the news that China has dispatched the frigate Xuzhou from off the coast of Somalia to steam to the Libyan coast to help evacuate members of the roughly thirty thousand Chinese citizens in Libya. The move has attracted widespread attention because it was a dramatic demonstration of how the Chinese government intends to use its expanding naval power around the world. [Source]


India is sending three Naval ships to evacuate its citizens from Libya. 18,000 Indians are currently based in Libya, many of them work for construction companies.

Government sources say two destroyers and INS Jalashawa (USS Trenton) will be dispatched from Mumbai in the next few hours. They will take 12 days to reach Libya. [Source]


The Russian Emergencies Ministry plans to engage a Turkish naval ship to provide security for Russians and citizens of other countries who will be evacuated by Saint Stefan ferry from the Libyan port of Ras Lanuf. [Source]

Posted by Christopher Albon in Foreign Policy, Hard Power
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