First ship in Gaza flotilla leaves port

June 29, 2011 at 10:12 AM
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PIRAEUS, Greece, June 29 (UPI) -- The French ship "Dignity" has become the first vessel to head toward the maritime meeting point for the flotilla to Gaza, organizers in Greece said Wednesday.

"Dignity" may have a long wait for the rest of the ships to arrive due to trouble experienced at the Greek port of Piraeus, the Israeli news organization Haaretz reported.

Reports indicate 10 vessels are set to take part in the flotilla aimed at breaking the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza.

Flotilla organizers said they believe Israeli sabotage was responsible for a propeller of the Greek-Swedish ship "Juliano" found broken earlier this week.

The Canadian ship "Tahrir" underwent a surprise inspection by the Greek Port Authority at Piraeus following a complaint by a private citizen. The "Tahrir" had already been declared ready to sail following an earlier inspection by the International Naval Surveys Bureau.

David Heap of the Gaza flotilla steering committee said the problems the flotilla has been experiencing are a clear example of bureaucratic delay driven by political motives.

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