THE WORLDPOST
02/22/2011 11:09 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Getting Americans Out Of Libya

The U.S. State department issued an evacuation notice late Tuesday, instructing U.S. citizens looking to leave Libya to arrive at As-shahab port in Tripoli beginning at 9 a.m. local time on Wednesday.

Violent unrest continues to escalate in the North African country, after its leader Moammar Gadhafi promised further crackdowns against his opponents.

The notice said Americans will board the ferry to the nearby island of Malta on a first-come, first-served basis with priority given to those with severe medical conditions.

On Monday, the State Department ordered all U.S. embassy officials, family members, and non-emergency personnel to depart Libya.

The evacuation notice comes after failed attempts to evacuate U.S. citizens by air. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said that Libyan officials pledged their support for U.S. evacuation efforts over the weekend but failed to grant the necessary permits for American charter flights to land in Libya.

Crowley told the Washington Post, "What we can't figure out is whether there's just chaos at the airport, which is entirely possible, or whether the Libyans are not cooperating."

According to Crowley, approximately 5,000 U.S. citizens live in Libya.

State Department officials told CNN's Jill Dougherty it is uncertain the ferry will be permitted to land in Tripoli upon arrival.