With 1000M of coastline, Libya stretches between Tunisia to the west and Egypt to the east. Africa’s fourth largest country; Libya is one of its most spectacular and beautiful. Huge areas of Sahara desert separate the mountainous and fertile north from its Sub-Saharan neighbours. The two main provinces are Tripolitania in the northwest and Cyrenaica in the northeast. The southern province of Fezzan is largely desert and most of its inhabitants live in the central and southern oases of the Sahara.

There are 5 major ports detailed in this edition. The information was gathered before the Libyan war that has all but destroyed the country. There are many more ports, particularly huge oil terminals, along with small fishing harbours. See the Introduction on page 1 and the country introduction on page 239 for helpful insights and information. There have been reports since 2014 of foreign nationals being kidnapped or killed, so it would be unwise to even attempt a visit at this time. Check with your embassy or see:

Hot and dry conditions by day and freezing temperatures at night in the Gulf of Sirte (mid coast) result in strong gusty winds blowing up from the northwest during summer. Northwest and northeast gales (Gregale) are frequent in winter and can be prolonged. Strong south winds are sometimes experienced, bringing scorching Sahara sand to the coast in summer, and in winter, sometimes torrential rain. The maximum tidal range is around half a metre or less and is therefore ignored, being of little significance. Barometric pressure differences, as weather systems move through the area, are a far more significant factor in tidal differences. In general, currents of up to half a knot travel west-southwest from Cap Bon to the Levant and along the east Libyan coast from Benghazi. In the Bay of Gabes and Sirte, however, a clockwise current develops and circulates with centres approximately 100M offshore. This produces northwest-going currents along the coast from Benghazi to Tunisia, affecting approaches to Benghazi and Tripoli.

CAUTION: The information above is selective and reflects conditions at the time of visiting. It is not definitive and may be changed or revised without notice. To the extent permitted by law, the RCC Pilotage Foundation and contributors do not accept any liability for any loss and/or damage howsoever caused that may arise from reliance on information in this Cruising Note and any attached files. The RCC Pilotage Foundation would welcome additional information or corrections to the information in this note. Please click here if you want to provide feedback on this or any other notice.