After 25 years of suspension, a passenger ferry was deported from Libya to attain Izmir’s coast on 5th December.
The” Kevalay Queen” ferry results from a collaboration between the Turkish “Karanfil Group” and LISCO, the Libyan Iron and Steel company, and Lybian Kevalay travel agency.
The ferry departed from Misrata, Libya’s 3rd biggest city situated 200 km away east from the capital Tripoli. The city hosts a lot of Turkish businesses, the reason why a regular ferry trip to Turkey is advantageous to both countries’ transactions.
The ship arrived at Alsancak Port in Izmir coastline carrying 107 passengers. The cross lasted approximately 48 hours; however, it took the ferry 3 days to anchor at the port because of a stop due to a storm that occurred in Izmir.
The ferry’s capacity includes 700 seats, 500 beds, and 520 vehicle spaces.
The trip has been relaunched after a suspension of 25 years since 1996 because of lack of demand. Libya was close to tourists to a great extend between 1969 and 2011 because of the previous government restrictions at that time.
Then, the incidents of the 2011 revolution engendered a gap between the 2 countries and disturbed the links due to many resulting years of chaos.
Relations Between Turkey And Libya Are Improving
However, lately, relations between Turkey and Libya started to revive again, especially after the signing of a maritime delimitation deal in 2019, providing a legitimate scheme and assuring the maritime neighboring between Turkey and Libya. This agreement reinforced bilateral operations and connections between the 2 countries.
The delimitation starts from Fethiye- Marmara- Kaş in Turkey’s southwest coastline until DernaTobruk- Bordia on Libya’s coast.
The trip is scheduled once a week with eventual additional crossing during the high seasons in summer. It is also expected to be expanded for further departures from different popular cities such as Istanbul, Antalya, Marmaris, and Bursa.
Turkey Develops Relations With North Africa
There are also currently under-study possibilities to extend the trip line to include Libya’s neighbors, mainly Egypt and Tunisia, which will definitely improve Turkey’s relations with North Africa.