Lone boat heads to Gaza

2011-07-06 18:16

kalahari.com

Jerusalem - A lone French yacht was on Wednesday headed for Gaza after sneaking out of Greek waters in defiance of a ban on the departure of aid ships aiming to run Israel's blockade on the coastal strip.

The MV Dignite/Al Karama, which left Greek waters early on Tuesday, is heading slowly towards Gaza, a spokesperson for the French Boat to Gaza campaign said, saying they had not yet given up hope they would be joined by others from the ill-fated Freedom Flotilla which had been due to set sail last week.

Pro-Palestinian campaigners on board a second ship, the MV Juliano, were expected to try leaving a Greek port later on Wednesday despite being turned back a day earlier, said a Swedish MP who will be joining the vessel.

Most of the 10 ships which had been due to join the naval convoy are stuck at ports in Greece after Athens imposed a blanket ban on the departure of any vessels destined for Gaza.

Another ship, the Irish-owned MV Saoirse, is currently undergoing repairs at a Turkish port after its propeller was damaged in what activists claimed was "sabotage" by Israel.

So far, only the MV Dignite, which has 12 people on board, has managed to set sail, a spokesperson for the French boat said.

Slow progress

"They're getting on very well," Thomas Sommer-Houdeville said by phone from Athens, saying the vessel had begun to move slowly towards Gaza on Tuesday afternoon after waiting for several hours in international waters to see if the Greek, Norwegian and Swedish activists on board the MV Juliano would to also manage to set sail.

"Yesterday afternoon, our Greek colleagues (on board the MV Juliano) were not able to leave, so they decided to start sailing slowly" towards Gaza, he said after speaking by phone to activists on board the Dignite.

"They are now heading for Gaza slowly so if any of the boats manage to get out, they will be able to meet up with them.

"For the time being, our desire is to go to Gaza," Sommer-Houdeville said, admitting the activists on board would later decide based on what was possible "logistically and technically".

"At the moment, we have one boat which has managed to break the Greek blockade and we are hopeful that there will be others," he said.

The Juliano activists hope to set sail from a port near Athens later on Wednesday, with the ship awaiting clearance from the Greek authorities, Maria Norden, a Social Democrat MP from Sweden, said by phone.

Ban for safety reasons


"All our on-board papers are in order, we are going to try to leave today," said Norden who is one of six passengers on the vessel.

Greek officials turned back the boat on Tuesday afternoon, she said.

Both the US Audacity of Hope and the Canadian vessel, the MV Tahrir, each of which have about 50 passengers and crew aboard, have tried to set sail since Athens imposed the ban on Friday, but were turned back.

And two of the vessels have also sustained damage, in what organisers claim was sabotage by Israeli agents.

Officials in Athens say they imposed the ban for the "safety" of the activists on board in the wake of last year's bloody showdown, when Israeli commandos raided a six-ship flotilla heading for Gaza, in a confrontation which left nine Turkish activists dead and dozens of people injured.

More than 300 activists from 22 countries had signed up to participate in this year's flotilla, among them dozens of middle-aged and elderly Americans and Europeans.

Israel has made no secret of its determination to prevent the Freedom Flotilla II from reaching Gaza, which has been under a blockade since 2006 after militants there snatched an Israeli soldier who is still being held at a secret location.

Read more on:    gaza  |  isreal  |  greece  |  gaza ship raid
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
42 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Music
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Joostenberg Vlakte 19:30 PM
Road name: N1 Inbound

ACCIDENT at Joostenberg

Cape Town 18:17 PM
Road name: Wet Weather

RAIN across the Cape Town area - turn on headlights, reduce speeds and drive with care

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 30% off top fragrances

Get mind blowing savings on selected fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today you may want to bond with your children and need to connect to your imaginative and playful side. It may be that you are...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.