28 June 2011 | Ha’aretz, Amira Hass
One of the ships due to participate in the Gaza flotilla was deliberately tampered with while it was docked in Greece’s Piraeus port, Gaza flotilla activists told Haaretz on Monday.
The ship, due to carry Greek, Norwegian, and Swedish passengers to Gaza, was found with its propeller shaft broken, the ship’s spokesman Israeli activist Dror Feiler told Haaretz.
A scuba diver who examines the ship on a daily basis discovered Monday that the ship’s propeller shaft, which connects the transmission inside the vessel directly to the propeller, was cut off.
According to Feiler, there is no doubt that the action was a deliberate attempt at sabotage, which he believed also violated Greece’s sovereignty.
Even though the problem can be fixed, it is still unclear how long it would take, especially with Greece’s recently declared general strike on Tuesday and Wednesday.
This action adds to a series of delays that have kept the Gaza flotilla from sailing, including Greece’s determination to carry out additional non-routine examinations on several of the ships.
Earlier Monday, organizers of the Gaza flotilla accused Israel of pressuring Greece to halt the ships’ departure.
American activist Ann Wright told a news conference that Israel is mounting a “tremendous diplomatic offensive” to prevent the flotilla from setting sail.
Organizers urged the Greek government in a statement not to “become complicit in Israel’s illegal actions by succumbing to this pressure.”