One of the ships trying to get through Israel’s blockade on humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip is a former Latvian-owned vessel, according to news reports. However, it was not one of the ships intercepted by Israeli commandos on May 31.
The MV Rachel Corrie, which is owned by the Free Gaza Movement Ireland, used to be known as the MV Linda and was the property of Rīga-based Forestry Shipping. The ship was detained last year in Dundalk, Ireland, because Forestry Shipping had failed to pay the vessel’s Ukrainian crew.
In March, the ship was sold at auction for EUR 70,000 to the Free Gaza Movement, according to the Irish Times. The MV Linda was rechristened the MV Rachel Corrie in memory of an American activist killed in 2003 while protesting Israeli incursions into Gaza.
The MV Rachel Corrie sailed from Ireland in mid-May. As of June 1, the vessel had not yet reached the eastern Mediterranean Sea and was not part of the Free Gaza flotilla that was stopped by Israeli forces, according to a statement by Irish Foreign Minister Micheál Martin. The ship is carrying cement, educational materials and medical equipment. The MV Rachel Corrie could arrive at Gaza by Friday, according to CNN.com.
Nine people on board the Free Gaza Movement’s ship Mavi Marmara were killed by Israeli forces who raided the vessel. Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement posted on its website, has said the commandos opened fired on activists only after they were attacked.
Latvia’s Foreign Ministry criticized the Israeli raid, noting that it took place in international waters and that the commandos used disproportionate force against the activists.
The MV Linda was rechristened the MV Rachel Corrie. (Photo courtesy of the Free Gaza Movement, via Flickr)
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