Statement from the FFC re. Freedom Flotilla III
The plan for Freedom Flotilla III was to have three boats challenging the blockade and two accompanying/supporting boats. Of the three, the Marianne was on its way from Sweden since May while the Juliano was being prepared in Corfu and the Agios Nikolaos was being prepared in Athens, to start moving in June. All repairs and inspections were made and the two boats were ready to sail.
As the Juliano started to move from Corfu to meet the Marianne south of Crete, the captain realized that there were vibrations in its propeller shafts and had to return to port, after a situation where the boat almost sunk. Upon inspection abnormal bends were discovered in both propeller shafts, a sign that the boat might have been subjected to sabotage.
The third boat, the Agios Nikolaos, faced technical difficulties while sailing from the mainland to Crete as well. After repair, administrative obstacles combined with extraordinary political situation in Greece during that last period, delayed Agios Nikolaos’ departure, despite the positive intervention by Greece’s Ministry of Marine Central Administration, until it was too late to catch up with the other boats.
Due to these circumstances, in a short time we had a very different number of places for the 68 international delegates from 20 countries who were supposed to be on the flotilla, and we had to move people around but still could only accommodate 47 people from 17 countries on four boats. We did manage to increase the number of accompanying boats from two to three, but still had no places for 21 delegates. The value of the commitment and participation of all delegates, those who sailed on the Marianne, those who sailed on the accompanying boats and those who never managed to sail, remains the same, and everyone’s contribution is what made FF3 a success, no matter what each person ended up doing.
FF3 sailed and achieved its goal: to challenge the siege of Gaza and remind the world of the illegal and inhumane Israeli blockade. And no matter what difficulties we will face in the future we will continue challenging it till it is fully lifted.