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‘Spirit Of Rachel Corrie’ –little engine that could

By annie | Mondoweiss | May 25, 2011

On May 11th The Spirit of Rachel Corrie, (officially the MV Finch) a Malaysian owned ship sponsored by the Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF), left Port of Piraeus, Greece bound for Palestine on a humanitarian mission carrying 7.5 kilometres of UPVC sewage pipes to help restore the devastated sewerage system essential for the rebuilding of Gaza’s infrastructure destroyed during the Gaza Massacre ’08-’09 .

PGPF is chaired by the former Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir Mohamad.

On May 16th an IDF naval patrol circled them and fired warning shots. The boat was only 400 meters away from land when it came under fire from the Israeli Navy, forcing it to retreat and seek anchorage. Reproduced below is the transmission by Matthias Chang onboard the ship ‘The Spirit of Rachel Corrie’ to Perdana during the attack.

“10:54am KL, Gaza 5:54am: We have been intercepted by Israeli ship and Egyptian ship. We are disobeying the orders and sailing ahead to Gaza.

“10:57am KL, Gaza 5:57am: One Israeli warship coming to us very fast! We are in international waters, therefore they have no right to attack us. We are still sailing ahead.

“10:59am KL, Gaza 5:59am: They are opening fire across our ship! We are still sailing ahead.

“11:09am KL, Gaza 6:09am: They are shooting all over the place. We can’t continue …

“11:35am KL, Gaza 6:35am: They circled our ship twice and fired across our ship. Machine guns. No one was injured. One of the fishing nets caught the propeller, so we can’t move now.

“11:37am KL, Gaza 6:37am (Derek Graham): The Israeli ship was coming from one end and the Egyptian ship was coming from another end. Firing. We are just stalled now. Everybody is okay. No one is injured.”

The Egyptian Naval ship intercepted and escorted the ship and crew to Egyptian territorial water. They anchored off the port of El Arish where they have been for over a week.  Initially an Egyptian navy gunboat  ordered them to leave.

“They are preventing the ship from berthing,” said Bernama journalist, Mohd Faizal Hassan, who is one of the 12 passengers and crew on board the MV Finch, in a SMS note to Bernama’s headquarters here Thursday night. According to Mohd Faizal, the MV Finch has been ordered not to come within a three nautical mile radius of the port. He also reported that fresh rations and water supply were fast running out. He said the ship was still waiting for permission from the port authority to berth. “We do not know when the permission will be given,” he said.

According to Global Research, which was in touch with the ship:

The Spirit of Rachel Corrie is without fuel, without water and without food, despite empty promises by the Egyptian port authority to allow for the ship to be resupplied.                                                                                                                                                             Meanwhile, we call upon people’s organizations in Egypt and around the World to act forcefully and in solidarity with The Rachel Corrie.

Mission To Gaza Expected To Continue On Land

EL-ARISH, May 24 (Bernama) — The mission to send PVC pipes to Gaza is expected to continue by land following the Egyptian authorities’ decision to allow the MV Finch carrying humanitarian aid to berth and unload the cargo at El-Arish Port. Bernama reporter Mohd Faizal Hassan via SMS text to the national news agency’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur texted: “It is understood that the Egyptian foreign minister has given permission (for the ship) to berth and unload the goods today…InsyaAllah (God willing), we will be on land.” The MV Finch has been stranded outside El-Arish Port for a week, waiting for the Egyptian authorities to allow it to berth at the port and now the ship’s engine has broke down. On May 16, the cargo ship carrying 12 passengers and crew members, as well as two Malaysian reporters had to cancel its plan to use the Palestinian waters to send the aid to Gaza when Israeli soldiers fired warning shots at the ship. Mohd Faizal said at the moment, Egyptian naval vessels were near the MV Finch to control the situation as there were also Israeli naval ships in the vicinity. The objective of breaking the siege has been pursued since Monday and the PVC pipes are expected to be sent today to Gaza via the land route.

This has been a long arduous journey for The spirit of Rachel Corrie and surely Rachel’s spirit is guiding them in their persevering, steadfast determination. It took days for the Egyptian authorities to allow them to berth, days of no fuel or water and  uncertainty.

A huge shout out to the mission’s team leader Matthias Chang, the 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.

Let’s put our hearts together and say a prayer for The spirit of Rachel and for the essential cargo to flow thru Egypt. I think I can I think I can I think I can…..The ship’s engine may not make it to Gaza but the engine running this mission, Rachel’s Spirit, is as strong as ever. She can and it will, I know it will.

May 25, 2011 - Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism

1 Comment »

  1. ‘Mission’s team leader Matthias Chang’.

    Didn’t know Matthias was not only smart, but brave as well…Good for ya!

    Comment by TheZombieSheep | May 26, 2011 | Reply


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