Irish aid ship, the MV Rachel Corrie, will sail from the southern Israeli port of Ashdod over the coming weeks.
The ship is still being held after Irish activists attempts, in June, to break the blockade of Gaza. First-mate, Derek Graham, has been told that the ship is ready for release.
Last week Graham was emailed by the port agent explaining the procedure for enabling the release of the vessel. This will include a letter from the Irish owners or operator, confirmation that the ship is safe to sail and has sufficient provisions for its trip, notification of its next port of call, crew details and passport arrangements and a handling fee of $3,000.
Graham said “We’re not sure exactly where to send [the Rachel Corrie ] next.” He believes it’s unlikely that the ship will go back to Dundalk, Louth, where it sailed from, in mid-May of this year.
He said that he hopes the ship will be able to set sail over the next two weeks and he believes possible destinations would be Greece or Italy. Graham said that some of the original crew would be onboard but none of the 11 original activists.
In early July Graham and his wife, Jenny and Denis Halliday, attended a conference in Kuala Lumpur. The event was hosted by the Malaysia-based Perdana Global Peace Organization. Several of the groups members were on the Rachel Corrie when it attempted to break the blockade.
The event was attended by former Malaysian Prime Minister Maharthir Mohamad. At the conference it was agreed that the organization would work closing with the Irish activists to attempt to break the blockade again.
Back in June the MV Rachel Corrie was the last of 40 vessels in an international aid flotilla attempting to break the blockade. On the days running up to their attempt nine Turkish activists were killed as Israeli commandos boarded the ships.
The 11 activists on board Irish ship, Rachel Corrie included former UN assistant secretary general Denis Halliday, Nobel laureate Maireád Corrigan Maguire, Dundalk film-maker Fiona Thompson, and first mate Derek Graham and his wife Jenny, both from Mayo.