A 1200-ton cargo ship that was abandoned in July 2009 off the coast of Ireland will be used by the Irish Free Gaza movement to try and run a Gaza blockade to deliver food and supplies to Palestinians.
The boat has been repainted and refitted and is called the 'Rachel Corrie' after an American activist crushed to death in 2003 by an Israeli military bulldozer as she attempted to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in Gaza.
Derek Graham one of the organizers of the flotilla, "We are doing this to show the people of Gaza that they are not alone. There's nothing going into Gaza, no aid. We are prepared to run the blockade to try and get aid in. We have done it before. Out of eight previous attempts, five were successful.”
The Free Gaza Movement along with the Turkish humanitarian organization, IHH, the European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza and the Greek and Swedish Boat to Gaza organizations will sail 8 boats led by the Rachel Corrie loaded with building supplies as well as taking 600 passengers and journalists at the end of May to run the Gaza blockade.
The Rachel Corrie was abandoned in the town of Dundalk, near the Irish border by its owners after it was discovered they had not paid the crew, all from Lithuania. Free Gaza activists bought the ship for $100,000.
Organizers say that on May Day weekend, a mini convoy of vans loaded with medical supplies from eight different cities in Ireland and England will be delivering and loading these supplies on the ship.
People in Norway have donated more than 6 tons of paper and school supplies with a goal of 25 tons to be loaded as cargo.
Israel refuses to allow paper and supplies in for the children.
One of Free Gaza’s organizers, Caoimhe Butterly, stated "The public response to the cargo ship has been immense, and we hope that in the remaining three weeks before we set sail, communities across Ireland will continue to mobilize and gather supplies. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a symptom of Israel’s siege and Occupation, and this flotilla will spotlight the devastating collective punishment that is being imposed on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip."