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Published: Friday May 20, 2011 MYT 6:00:00 PMUpdated: Friday May 20, 2011 MYT 8:50:24 PM
By ISABELLE LAI
PETALING JAYA: Fresh rations and water have been provided to the passengers and crew of the Malaysian ship carrying aid to Gaza.
Perdana Global Peace Foundation spokesperson Shamsul Azhar thanked the Egyptian authorities for their assistance adding that the supplies, provided Friday morning, were currently sufficient.
MV Spirit of Rachel Corrie (formerly known as MV Finch) has been anchored for the past four days just off the El-Arish Port in Egypt.
“We will be allowed to berth. It's just a matter of waiting. At the moment, everything is fine with the crew and passengers.
“However, their spirits are a bit low as some of these activists are experiencing their first time spending so many days at sea,” he said on Friday.
When asked about a media report on Thursday that the ship was ordered to leave the port's waiting area, Shamsul said there had been a lot of confusion.
“It's not that they didn't let us berth. It's just that there are certain procedures they have to follow before they allow us to berth,” he said, adding that the Malaysian Embassy in Cairo was helping to speed the process by talking to the Egyptian authorities.
The ship is carrying 7.5km of PVC pipes to help repair Gaza's devastated sewerage system.
It was forced to divert to El-Arish Port after it came under fire from Israeli naval forces when it tried to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza strip.
The ship is skippered by Malaysian Captain Abdul Jalil Mansor who is assisted by four crew members, Zainuddin Mohamad and Mohd Jaffery Ariffin from Malaysia, and Indian nationals Sharma Chandan Shimla and Pal Satya Prakash.
Also onboard are Bernama reporter Mohd Faizal Hassan, New Straits Times reporter Iskandar Alang Bendahara, a volunteer from Felda, Mohd Radzillah Abdullah, and humanitarian activists Derek Graham and Jenny Graham from Ireland, and Julie Levesque from Canada.
Meanwhile, Bernama reported that Matthias Chang, 61, leader of the Malaysian humanitarian aid mission to Gaza has gone on a hunger strike since Thursday evening in protest against the refusal of the authorities here to allow the ship to enter El-Arish Port.
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