The Irish flotilla carrying pro-Palestinian activists has reached international waters of the eastern Mediterranean and is approaching the Gaza strip.

Al Jazeera reposts that The MV Saoirse, left the port of Fethiye in southwest Turkey on Wednesday after Turkish authorities gave them permission to sail to the Greek island of Rhodes.

A Canadian boat, the Tahrir, is also on route, it is carrying six activists, a captain and five journalists. It is sailing under the flag of Comoris Islands.

The Saoirse is flying under the U.S. flag and has 12 Irish citizens on board. It has been docked in Turkey for some time after it allegedly sabotaged and suffered damage.

David Heap, a crew member on board the Tahrir told Al Jazeera that they decided to leave Fethiye due to the strained relations between Turkey and Israel.
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"The Turkish government has been creating more distance from Israel diplomatically and we know there is support from Turkish society for what we are doing.

"Our judgment was that the Turkish state would not interfere with us if we didn’t make too much of a public issue of our plan to depart from there," Heap told Al Jazeera.

“It will take at least a couple of days before the boats reach the Palestinian waters of the Gaza Strip, where they expect to be approached by the Israeli navy.

"We have some distance to cover between where we are now and Palestinian territorial waters of Gaza.
"Obviously we are going to avoid going through Israeli territorial waters.

"Our plan is to go directly from international waters into the territorial waters of Gaza - within a couple of days.

"We're not, at this point, going to state exactly when. We will choose our moment to what is favourable to what we are trying to do," Heap said.