The 60-year-old skipper of the US-flagged vessel “Audacity of Hope” was released on Tuesday with no restrictions, after appearing before a Piraeus examining magistrate. The skipper has been charged with one felony count and two misdemeanours for safety violations.
A judicial council will subsequently decide whether he will be tried in court or whether the charges will be dismissed.
The “Audacity of Hope” was part of a flotilla of five vessels carrying aid to Gaza that was banned from leaving Greek seaports, following a decision by the relevant citizens’ protection ministry. The "quartet" on the Middle East (USA, Russia, EU, UN) had requested that all governments should use their influence and prevent the departure of the flotilla for Gaza.
Meanwhile, it was still undetermined whether the French-flagged ship “Dignite Al-Karama” had passed through Greek territorial waters. The vessel, with eight people on board, is reportedly sailing in international waters en route to Gaza.
According to coast guard sources, the vessel had set sail from Corsica on June 25 while a ban on the departure of vessels destined for Gaza was into effect in all French ports.
Several “Free Gaza” flotilla vessels remain docked in Greek ports
During a press conference on Tuesday, members of the “Boat to Gaza” initiative and representatives of Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZIA) parliamentary alliance and other local leftists criticised the Greek government, accusing it of backing out and rejecting a foreign ministry proposal for the transportation of the humanitarian aid to Palestinian territory on board Greek vessels.
A “Boat to Gaza” representative said the UN secretary-general's proposal to have the humanitarian aid shipped to the Israeli port of Ashdod by Greek vessels constitutes an “unlawful confiscation, corresponding to theft”.
SYRIZA MP Thodoros Dritsas stressed that “the Greek government’s stance is hostile ... for years, foreign ministry officials and diplomats have been reassuring that the campaign was not in violation of international law.”
Finally, a media umbrella federation in Greece, POESY, announced that it will publicly condemn whatever practices preventing journalists from doing their job, a reference to the media people on board the “Free Gaza” vessels.
Spanish activists take over Spanish embassy to protest Gaza flotilla ban
Twenty-one Spanish activists took over the Spanish embassy in central Athens on Tuesday to protest a decision by Greek authorities to ban the sailing of vessels headed for Gaza.
The activists, who were on the vessel "Gernica", arrived from the Cretan port city of Hania, where their vessel remained docked on orders of the Greek coast guard.
Local authorities have banned the nine-vessel flotilla, loaded with aid and carrying pro-Palestinian activists, from sailing towards the Middle East sliver of land, which is under an Israeli naval blockade.
The embassy is located across from the Acropolis archaeological site on one of the Greek capital's most exclusive pedestrian ways. (ANA-MPA)
Sailing operation from Corfu to Gaza
Members of the initiative "A ship for Gaza", despite the ban imposed, have been at the marina of Gouvies on the island of Corfu since noon on Tuesday, in an effort to sail with the ship "Sotirakis" that until recently sailed on the Corfu-Agioi Saranda route.
The organisation's delegation that is in Corfu is mainly composed of Dutch and Italian activists.