The Greek coast guard on the island of Crete has blocked a small French boat carrying activists to the impoverished Gaza Strip, says an organizer.
Claude Leostic with the French boat Dignite El Karameh said the vessel “was taken to Sitia in Crete by the Greek coast guard after being stopped in a nearby port while it was refueling,” AFP reported on Thursday.
“The authorities are stopping the boat from setting sail for various administrative reasons,” Leostic added.
Dignite El Karameh, which is carrying 12 pro-Palestinian activists, departed from a Greek port on Tuesday despite the country’s ban on Gaza-bound aid ships.
In a separate development, another French vessel’s attempt to sail to Gaza was also thwarted on Monday by the Greek coast guard officials. The Louise Michel, with 24 passengers on board, was circled by Greek vessels as it started up its engines.
Greek coast guards on Monday also intercepted the Canadian Tahrir (Liberation) vessel with at least 50 pro-Palestinian activists onboard.
More than 300 activists from 22 countries have signed up to participate in Freedom Flotilla II.
Members of the flotilla say the Greek government is blocking the humanitarian convoy on behalf of the Israeli regime.
Greece has recently expanded its ties with Israel, as the two sides are currently holding preliminary talks on potential energy deals.
The Israeli military attacked the Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea on May 31, 2010, killing nine Turkish nationals aboard the Turkish-flagged MV Mavi Marmara, and injuring about 50 other activists that were part of the team on the six-ship convoy.
The Tel Aviv regime has ordered the Israeli navy to use all possible means to prevent the incoming international aid flotilla from reaching the Gaza Strip, but the Gaza Freedom Flotilla II organizers insist that they will push ahead with their aid mission.