This week has seen progress with the US$1.5 Billion project to develop a deep water container port at Marsa Susah. Known in ancient times as Apollonia, this was one of five cities in Cyrenaica established in the seventh century BC by King Battus that made up Pentapolis. It was the port used by the British archaeologists, Smith and Porcher, during their excavations at Cyrene one hundred and sixty years ago and it was where Geoffrey Keyes was landed by submarine on his way to being awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross, leading the failed Special Forces attempt to capture Erwin Rommel in November 1941.
This project has been on the table for a long time and is critical to re-booting the Libyan economy. It is envisaged that Susah will serve as the main port of entry for goods into Libya by sea. The natural self-dredging harbour with a sea depth of 18 meters will be constructed in four-phases and will primarily focus on container processing, grain handling and other bulk cargoes. With the signing of the master agreement this week, the beginning of construction is in sight, although probably not until 2023.
See Liberating Libya for Smith and Porcher’s life among the Bedouin and the controversy surrounding the death of Geoffrey Keyes.