Gaza flotilla damaged ship - Kara Larson  - june 29 2011
Flotilla organizers working on their damaged ship in the port of Pireaus. Photo by Karla Larson
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An investigation by Turkish police into the alleged sabotaging of an Irish ship set to sail in the flotilla to Gaza revealed that the damage to the ship occurred before it docked in Turkey, the Turkish daily Hurriyet reported on Saturday.

The flotilla organizers have claimed that the ship was docked in Turkey’s territorial waters when the tampering occurred.

Hurriyet reported Turkish diplomats as saying that the investigation revealed that the damage done to the ship had occurred before it docked, and was most likely not caused intentionally.

According to an activist, the engine of the Irish vessel was damaged in such a way that would have caused the ship to sink in the middle of the ocean and cause fatalities.

The flotilla spokesman, Dror Feiler, told Army Radio that he has no proof that Israel was responsible for the damage, but that the state would do everything in its power to prevent the ships from heading to Gaza.

“I saw the damage and it is clear that it was done in a planned and professional way,” he said. “The Israeli government is the only one that could benefit from this.”

On Monday, the propeller of the Greek-Swedish ship "Juliano" was found broken, and Gaza flotilla organizers said they believed it was deliberate sabotage by Israel. Due to the vandalism, flotilla participants have organized guard duty rosters for each ship that is due to sail for Gaza.

Meanwhile in Greece, the government issued a statement on Friday, saying that the departure of ships with Greek and foreign flags from Greek ports to the maritime area of Gaza has been prohibited. The statement explained that this is in a bid to prevent a breach of Israel’s naval blockade.

The flotilla is set to head toward Gaza a little over a year after Israeli marines stormed another pro-Palestinian flotilla that had approached the strip. Nine activists died in the on-board clashes, provoking an international outcry.