Gaza aid ship headed for Egyptian port: Shipping agent

The ship was loaded with about 2,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid for Gaza.

Updated: Jul 11, 2010, 10:37 AM IST

Athens: The Gaza aid ship of a charity headed by a son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi set sail from Greece on Saturday for an Egyptian port, the shipping agent and the Greek Foreign Ministry said.

"All the ship`s documents are in order, they indicate as its destination the Egyptian port of El-Arish," said Petros Arvanitis, the agent of the cargo ship Amalthea, set to sail from Lavrio, some 60 kilometres southeast of Athens yesterday.

The Tripoli-based Gaddafi International Charity and Development Association said on Friday the Moldova-flagged ship was "loaded with about 2,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid in the form of foodstuff and medications" for Hamas-run Gaza.

"We received assurances from the Libyan ambassador that the boat would head for El-Arish," said Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras said.

Earlier yesterday, the Greek Foreign Ministry had said it was in contact with Israeli diplomats about the aid ship.

Israel in turn said its intense diplomatic efforts with Moldova and Egypt had succeeded in keeping the ship from trying to break the Israeli naval blockade of the impoverished Palestinian territory.

A charity headed by Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, Gaddai’s second son who is widely seen as heir apparent, had engaged the 92-metre freighter with a 12-man crew and nine passengers to bring supplies to Gaza.

The passengers were made up of six Libyans, a Moroccan, a Nigerian and an Algerian.

This latest attempt to defy the Israeli blockade comes after the killings in May of eight Turks and a dual US-Turkish citizen when Israeli commandos attacked a flotilla heading for Gaza, sparking a furious row with Ankara which wants Israel to apologise or accept an international probe.

Israel claims its commandos only used force to defend themselves after being ambushed.