The Irish Times reports:
An Irish ship, the MV Saoirse , will not take part in the planned freedom flotilla which is preparing to sail to Gaza because it has been sabotaged, according to one of the ship’s intended passengers.
Speaking last night from the Turkish port of Göcek, Fintan Lane, the national co-ordinator of Irish Ship to Gaza organisation, said that the ship would not be able to sail as it had been “dangerously sabotaged”, according to the organising campaign.
He said that the damage to the ship was discovered on Monday night when the captain noticed that there was something wrong. Divers found that a piece was missing from one of the propeller shafts.
“This was the type of sabotage that endangered human life,” Mr Lane said last night. “They put divers under the boat who cut a piece out of the propeller shaft. That means that the damage would have happened gradually and what would have happened eventually is that the propeller would have come up through the bottom of the boat, caused a flood in the engine room and would have caused the boat to sink.”
The damage was very similar to that caused to the Juliano in Greece, Lane said, adding that the damage was most certainly intentional and a product of human intervention.
“Israel is the only party likely to have carried out this reckless action and it is important that the Irish government and the executive in Northern Ireland insist that those who ordered this act of international terrorism be brought to justice. This was carried out in a Turkish town and shows no respect for Turkish sovereignty and international law,” said Lane.
He added that the damage would take weeks and around 15,000 euro to fix, effectively preventing the ship from taking part in the flotilla.
Lane, who was on board Challenger 1 in last year’s flotilla, said: “The Freedom Flotilla is a non-violent act of practical and humanitarian solidarity with the people of Gaza, yet Israel continues to use threats and violence to delay its sailing. They attacked us in international waters last year; now they are attacking us in Turkish and Greek ports. There is no line that Israel won’t cross.”