U.S. warns Americans to defer travel to Eritrea

Washington (ANN)The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Eritrea, recommends that U.S. citizens defer travel at this time, and strongly advises Americans on ships and sailing vessels to not attempt to dock in Eritrean ports, or to travel

through Eritrean waters.

In December 2010, a British ship attempting to refuel in Massawa was detained by Eritrean authorities, and its crew of four has not been released, a statement issued by American Embassy in Eritrea said.

There are reports of additional vessels with nationals from other countries being detained up to several months. In nearly all cases, the Eritrean government has neither given a reason for detention, nor granted consular access. The port of Assab is closed to private marine vessels, it said.

American citizens choosing to travel to Eritrea should obtain an Eritrean visa before their arrival in Eritrea. Persons arriving by marine vessel likely will not be able to obtain an Eritrean visa. Additionally, fuel and provisions are often unavailable in Massawa and other parts of Eritrea and often scarce in Asmara, the statement added.

The Eritrean government continues to restrict the travel of all foreign nationals. These restrictions require all visitors and residents, including U.S. diplomats, to apply in advance for permission to travel outside the Asmara city limits, the statement pointed out.

Recently, the Eritrean government has started to refuse all new diplomatic travel permit requests; this situation may continue indefinitely.  As a result, the U.S. Embassy cannot provide emergency consular assistance outside of Asmara, it noted.
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