Gaza Freedom Flotilla building steam
The Free Gaza Movement’s FREEDOM FLOTILLA III is assembling itself ship by ship at European ports. Departure is set for later this month. You can already track the passenger ship MS Mavi Marmara and cargo ships Gazze, Sofia and MV Rachel Corrie on Google Earth. Will the humanitarian relief convoy succumb to Israel’s blockade?
UPDATED: photo-profiles of the IN v. FGM maritime contenders:
Sofia, Sweden / Greece, IMO: 6713752, MMSI: 239219000
Currently docked in Piraeus Roads, Athens.
Itinerary: Tromsö – Göthenburg – Great Yarmouth – Bilbao – Lisbon – Barcelona – Marseilles – Genoa – Athens – Istanbul – Gaza City.
Defne Y, Kiribata, IMO: 7725518, MMSI: 529239000.
Currently loading in Istanbul.
The Israeli blockade
Free Gaza has launched eight relief flotillas to Gaza since 2006, but according to Intifata Palestine:
The last three voyages were illegally stopped by the Israeli navy when, in December, 2008, they rammed the DIGNITY in international water, turned back the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY by threatening to shoot all on board, then hijacking the SPIRT on July 1, 2009, kidnapping the passengers and throwing them into prison for a week.
Israeli coastal patrol accosts Palestinian fishing vessels which stray beyond an Israel-imposed six mile fishing limit.
Israeli Dabur class Coastal Patrol Craft sets water hose on Palestinian fishing vessel before making arrests.
It was a Dabur in 2008 which rammed the Free Gaza relief ship Dignity.