From the brave souls on the ship:
A Statement from the International Human Rights Workers Aboard the SS Free Gaza and SS Liberty, Sailing to Gaza
For Immediate Release Date : 08-23-2008
(10am, 23 August, 2008) At 10am this morning, the Cyprus team of the Free Gaza Movement was able to briefly speak with our people on board the SS Free Gaza and SS Liberty. They are all fine, and they asked us to release the following statement:
"The electronic systems which guarantee our safety aboard the SS Free Gaza and SS Liberty have been jammed and scrambled. Both ships are flying Greek flags, and are in international waters. We are the victims of electronic piracy. We are currently in GMS P area A2 and we are relying on our satellite communications equipment to make a distress call, if needed.
We are civilians from 17 nations and are on this project to break the siege of Gaza. We are not experienced sailors. As a result, there is concern about the health and safety of the people on board such an emergency develop.
We are currently experiencing rough sea conditions, and we call on the Greek government and the international community to meet their responsibilities and protect the civilians on board our two ships in international waters."
So, their communications are jammed, in rough seas.
Israel denies scrambling their radios:
Israel has denied interfering in the boats' communications, and has previously called the mission an unacceptable provocation. It remained unclear what would happen as the boats approach Gaza, although an Israeli attempt to stop them seemed likely.
Gee, and I sure believe the Israelis! (They didn't attack the Liberty on purpose either).
I'll add more as I find out, time permitting.
The Free Gaza and US Liberty boats have pulled anchor and are sailing the high seas! The voyage should take about 30 hours.
Let us all hope they make it unfettered and unharmed to the destination.
Forty-six international human rights workers are now sailing to Gaza through international waters with one overriding goal: to break the Israeli siege that Israel has imposed on the civilian population of Gaza. Any action designed to harm civilians constitutes collective punishment (in the Palestinians’ case, for voting the “wrong” way) and is both illegal under international law and profoundly immoral. Our mission is to expose the illegality of Israel’s actions, and to break through the siege in order to express our solidarity with the suffering people of Gaza (and of the occupied Palestinian territory as a whole) and to create a free and regular channel between Gaza and the outside world.
All we can do now is wait and see what the reaction of the Israeli Navy will be.