Irish aid boat still determined to defy Gaza blockade
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A spokeswoman for the MV Rachel Corrie, an Irish aid boat carrying a Nobel Prize winner and a former senior United Nations official, says the boat's crew still plan to head to Gaza but are seeking assurances about their safe passage.
AFP - An Irish aid boat still plans to head to Gaza but is seeking assurances about its safe passage after the deadly Israeli raids on a flotilla this week, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.
The MV Rachel Corrie -- carrying a Nobel Prize winner and a former senior United Nations official -- has delayed plans to dock within a day or two in Gaza and could now arrive next Monday, if all goes well.
"She's in the Mediterranean. she is going to go to Gaza. We're looking for assurances that we'll get in safely," Niamh Moloughney of Free Gaza Ireland told AFP.
"She's in between Crete and the north African coast," she added, adding that the vessel could dock in another port to pick up more passengers.
Asked when the vessel could try to reach Gaza, she said: "We're planning for Monday." On Tuesday, organisers had said the vessel was planning to arrive either Wednesday or Thursday this week.
Five of those on board are Irish, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire, 66, and former UN assistant secretary general Denis Halliday, according to the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Maguire, who won the Nobel prize as co-founder of a peace movement in long-troubled Northern Ireland, has travelled many times to the Palestinian territories, said the group.
On Tuesday, Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said the Rachel Corrie should be allowed to reach Gaza with its humanitarian cargo.
"If any harm comes to any of our citizens, it will have the most serious consequences," he said, adding that Dublin had asked Israel to ensure the boat "complete its journey unimpeded and discharge its humanitarian cargo in Gaza".