The Irish ship, MV Rachel Corrie, was tampered with by the Israeli Defense Forces according to Colonel Itzik Turgeman.
The Rachel Corrie was planned to be the first ship to arrive into Gazan waters last weekend but was delayed due to mechanical problems now suspected to be a form of sabotage.
An Israel newspaper reported “A senior officer in the Israel Defence Forces hinted that the IDF sabotaged the engines of five ships, saying “they took care of them.” The Colonel also told the newspaper that the army decided not to sabotage the Turkish ferry, Mavi Mamara which was attacked on Monday.
Currently the Rachel Corrie is in a holding position in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. According to, Free Gaza Movement’s, Greta Berlin the Rachel Corrie is waiting for the Challenger II ship, which was damaged during the attacks.
The Rachel Corrie will pick up more passengers, including human rights activists and journalists, before continuing their journey toward Gaza.
Perdana Global Peace Organisation (PGPO) chairman, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is representing the six Malaysian passengers on board the Rachel Corrie, said “the ship was going to sail through Gaza waters and it had nothing to do with Israel.
“They are not going to Israeli waters. Why is it that these Israelis are going to block people going towards Gaza and not using Israeli’s territorial waters at all? They have no right.”
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen has already said that there will be “serious consequences” if any harm comes to the Irish passengers on board.
Niamh Moloughney, who organized the ships sailing from Ireland, said “I’d say the mood on board is resilient and steadfast. When people signed up to this they knew what might happen… We expected we would be confronted and there would be a stand-off, but no one expected this. But there’s never really been a question of the boat turning back.”
Denis Halliday, one of the crew members on board, originally from Galway, said that he had spoken to Irish Foreign Minister, Micheál Martin and the crew felt encouraged by the international support they are receiving.
“He was very reassuring that the government was behind us and he gave us a complete green light to do what we’re doing and he’ll protect us as much as he can,” siad Halliday.
Over Tuesday morning there have also been reports of the launch of Turkish naval escorts for additional humanitarian sailings and an Egyptian border crossing. The is no direct information to show that the Turkish ships will support the Rachel Corrie and it is believed that the Egyptian’s opening their border is simply a way of demonstrating their outrage at the situation.
The 1,200-metric ton boat is carrying five Irish, six Malaysians and “medical equipment, wheel chairs, school supplies and cement” all of which had already been inspected for contraband before leaving Dundalk, Ireland.