All crew members and passengers aboard the ship "Strofades IV" were reported to be well and safe on Friday when the vessel anchored at the port of Piraeus. According to the London-based 'Road to Hope' charity the ship was meant to take aid to Gaza but broke its moorings at the Libyan port of Derna and set sail for Greece instead, with at least 10 activists on board that were being held against their will.
Six Britons, two Irish, one Nigerian and one Moroccan national, activists of the aid organisation, were on board the vessel when it arrived in Piraeus, as well as seven Libyan port officials and the 16-member crew comprised of 10 Ukrainians and six Egyptians.
Greek port authorities boarded the vessel at 11:15 a.m., where it was ascertained that the organisation's members and ship's crew were well in health.
According to reports, the vessel broke mooring when a pay dispute broke out between the owner company and activists for the conveyance of trucks loaded with humanitarian aid to an Egyptian port.
An announcement by owners Ionian Bridge later on Friday claimed that the activists had boarded the vessel without having any written contract or charter-party. While 'Road for Hope' claimed to have paid for transporting the aid, no written contract or charter had been received, it said.
The shipping firm's announcement also reported a "tense atmosphere" aboard the vessel at Derna and said that Libyan authorities had not responded to a call for assistance. The captain, fearing for the safety of the ship and crew, then set sail for international waters while informing authorities in Malta, the operations room at the Greek Maritime Affairs, Islands and Fisheries ministry and the Greek foreign ministry.