Fiona Thompson, the Irish filmmaker and activist who was on board the Rachel Corrie when it was boarded by the Israeli Defense Forces, smuggled footage of the event back to Ireland.
The footage shows the final moments before the MV Rachel Corrie was boarded by about 35 armed soldiers. It shows the crew attempting to avoid contact with the Israeli Defense Forces and how they asserted that their ship was in international waters.
First mate, Derek Graham broadcasted their location on two different radio frequencies in an attempt to alert third parties of their location. They also relayed distress signals just before they were boarded 35 miles off the coast of Gaza.
Graham described how the incident played out. He said “I was in the wheelhouse by myself and everyone else was mid-ship. About 35 heavily armed guys came on board and set up weapons.
“They pointed them at me through the wheelhouse glass just to make sure I didn't do anything.”
The soldiers placed him face down on the deck and bound his hands with a cable. He was placed at the back of the ship facing the wall for 45 minutes before he was brought to join the rest of the crew.
“They didn't say too much. They weren't the most pleasant of people but they didn't harm anyone. That was my primary concern, to keep everyone onboard safe,” said Graham.
The entire crew was asked to sign confessions stating that they had entered Israeli waters. “We all refused it. That went away straight away,” he said.
In the film Israeli Defense Forces can be heard referring to the Irish aid ship as MV Linda, which was the ships old name. The MV Rachel Corrie had been renamed after an American activist who was killed in Gaza.
First mate, Derek Graham said “It was a complete outright refusal to acknowledge the name of the boat…They had their research done to know it was called the MV Linda before we renamed it.”
Graham also said that the crew was shown photographs of the crew and the MV Rachel Corrie in Dundalk before they departed at the beginning of May.
He said “There was a picture of Jenny [his wife] and when she saw it she knew it was taken in Dundalk because of the background. That is where we bought the ship and got it ready and got it loaded.
"It wasn't startling because we had an idea that we were being watched," said Graham.
"I have done this [humanitarian aid missions] for three years and I had them outside my house in Cyprus and following us to the shops.
"I don't mind the ones that you can see – they are there for intimidation or just to let you know [you are being watched]. But it's the ones you can't see that I don't like."
Michael D Higgins, Labour’s spokesperson for foreign affairs, said these actions could potentially be a diplomatic incident. He said “If it was true, and taken in the context of all the other actions that have taken place [involving clandestine Israeli operations], it has to be part of the judgment of Micheál Martin in terms of what is done on the passport issue.
"It would be of the same category of action and impropriety as the use of Irish passports [by Israeli agents]. These are not the actions of countries with friendly diplomatic relations."