Coast Guard ship first US vessel to visit Libya in 40 years


A US Coast Guard cutter left the Libyan port of Tobruk this morning after becoming the first US military vessel to visit the North African country in more than 40 years.

The three-day visit by the CGC Boutwell was “part of a theater security cooperation mission to strengthen the maritime partnership between the United States and Libya“, the US military’s Africa Command said in a statement.

It appeared to be the latest symbol of Libya‘s transition, overseen by its leader Muammar Gaddafi, from international pariah to a country with growing security and economic ties to the West, Reuters says.

The vessel, which is in the region under US naval command, arrived in Tobruk on Sunday and its crew conducted training exchanges with their Libyan counterparts, the navy’s statement said.

A US military spokesman said the vessel sailed out of Tobruk on Tuesday morning at the end of the visit.

No comment was immediately available from the Libyan authorities. The Mediterranean port of Tobruk is in eastern Libya near the border with Egypt.