GAZA: BREAKING THE SIEGE. Spirit of Rachel Corrie Confronts Egyptian Government
By Global Research
Global Research, May 24, 2011
New Straits Times 24 May 2011
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MORE food supplies were delivered to The Spirit of Rachel Corrie by a small boat at 5.30pm (Egyptian time) on Sunday.

Like before, The Spirit of Rachel Corrie — MV Finch is its official name — was not allowed to enter port and had to come close to the port entrance to receive the goods.

The food supplies are enough to last for two days.

Also delivered were 75 containers of fresh water, just in time to replenish the ship’s water tank, which was at zero level early Sunday.

The water is enough for only two days as it is used for washing, cooking and ship’s operations.

It is essential for the people onboard to maintain hygiene as diseases can spread easily in cramped spaces like in the ship.

The water in the tank ran out on Sunday and the people onboard had to use bottled water to flush toilets, bathe and wash hands.

The first supply of food was delivered to the ship last Thursday.

Yesterday was exactly a week since The Spirit of Rachel Corrie was turned into a “prison ship” by the Egyptian authorities, thus hampering its humanitarian mission to deliver aid to the needy Palestinians.

The Malaysian-owned cargo ship is sponsored by the Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF) in its mission to break the Israeli siege of Gaza and deliver PVC pipes for rehabilitation of the damaged sewerage system in Gaza.

The mission achieved its first objective last Monday when it managed to surprise the Israeli navy and entered Palestinian waters, but was forced to turn back after an Israeli navy patrol vessel fired several warning shots over its bow.

The cargo ship has yet to achieve its second objective of delivering the 30 tonnes of 7.5km-long PVC pipes to the Palestinian Environment Ministry.

Meanwhile, yesterday was the first week anniversary of the success of The Spirit of Rachel Corrie mission to break the siege of Gaza.

In a classic case of David versus Goliath, the small general cargo ship managed to penetrate the cordon of the mighty Israel Defence Forces (IDF).

It was a historic event as no cargo vessel carrying humanitarian aid had come so close to the Palestinian waters before.

Even the previous ship MV Rachel Corrie, which PGPF had participated in last year, had failed to break the siege.

Last Monday morning, The Spirit of Rachel Corrie bypassed the Egyptian El Arish port authority and the country’s navy to come close to its shores.

Cruising slowly and as close as 750m from the shore, the ship was only detected by IDF patrol vessels when it entered the security zone.

By the time the IDF vessels approached and started firing its first warning shot around 6.05am, The Spirit of Rachel Corrie had already entered Palestinian waters about a kilometre from its shore.

Several more warning shots were fired which forced the ship to stop and turnaround into Egyptian waters and anchor at the El Arish port.

The mission’s earlier victory was shortlived as it has now been turned into a “prison ship” by the Egyptian authorities.

Instead of highlighting the mission’s success, the Israeli atrocities and the ship’s cargo, the focus has shifted to the Egyptian authorities.

The mission’s success can be attributed to the combined experience of its mission leader, Matthias Chang, ship captain Abd Jalil Mansor, Irish activist Derek Graham, first officer Mohammad Jafri Arifin, chief engineer Zainuddin Mohamed, and two Indian crewmen Pal Satya Prakash and Sharma Chandan.

They put their heads together after the ship sailed off on May 11 and came up with the plan to break the siege.

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