Ship once owned by Latvian company involved in Gaza relief effort

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

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.

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The MV Linda was rechristened the MV Rachel Corrie. (Photo courtesy of the Free Gaza Movement, via Flickr)

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

One thought on “Ship once owned by Latvian company involved in Gaza relief effort

  1. My grandmothers family was once Latvians. My mother came to Israel in 1948 she was 20 years old, to start a new life. She came with a man she intended to marry. Arabs caught him and she had to identify him, cut into small pieces and left in a sack. She was traumatized as it was, loosing 25 close family members who were murdered by Latvians in Libau in 1941, because they were Jews! She went home in chock. I came here hoping to grow a family free from antisemitism. 3 months ago I send my son to serve in the Navy. He is only 19 years old. His uniform make him look so grown up, but he is still a schoolboy to me. He is one of the soldiers that was supposed to do a routine check of the boats coming into Gaza. Like Israel do with good right, since enormous amounts of weapons are smuggled into Gaza, on all kind of boats. The soldiers were not armed. I can say that for sure because my son had not gone trough the shooting training yet and had not been given a weapon yet. They were aggressively attacked by so called humanitarian peace loving foreigners carrying all kind of Knifes, hooks and Iron poles. My son was sick that day, luckily for him and his family. But his friends on the same course got badly injured. Do not lie to Latvian readers and tell them this was a peaceful action. The ship was full of Muslims that were not born in the countries they carried passports from. I have to send my 19 year old boy out to prevent,that Missiles and other weapons get smuggled into Gaza. Weapons that could kill thousand of innocent people in this country. We only want to live in peace! Why are we not allowed to protect our self. What would you do if you had to live next to a country where every family has one or more terrorist and are proud of how many people they have killed? Have you forgotten how Gaza citizens chaired when Osama bin Laden send two aeroplanes into the Twin towers and killed 6000 thousand innocent people? We cried in Israel! Have you forgotten how many innocent people terrorists have killed in buses or in supermarkets here? A girl in my sons class was killed by a car bomb parked outside a Falafel place, when she was 11. The young soldiers that went on board this ships would have been ripped to pieces like my mothers boyfriend if not someone had acted. If the people onboard had nothing to hide, why were they so aggressive? It hurts me to see how old antisemitism in your country still lives on and you so easily agree with murderers.

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