The US boat, The “Audacity of Hope” set sail yesterday for Gaza. Within minutes it was surrounded by heavily armed Greek commandos, who eventually boarded the ship forcing it to immediately turn back to port. At the same time the Canadian boat the “Tahrir” was being boarded and their paperwork confiscated. Additionally all other boats had armed Greek police and Coast Guard personnel guarding the ships to keep them from leaving port. The Greek Announcement on the Flotilla can be read below. It is now clear that the siege on Gaza extends to Greece and its islands.
Prohibition of the departure of ships with Greek and foreign flags from Greek ports to the maritime area of Gaza today
Pursuant to a decision by the Minister of Citizen Protection Mr. C. Papoutsis, the departure of ships with Greek and foreign flags from Greek ports to the maritime area of Gaza has been prohibited today.
By orders of the Hellenic Coast Guard Head Quarters to all local Hellenic Coast Guard Authorities, all appropriate measures are taken for the implementation of the said decision.
As it is known, the Hellenic Coast Guard local Authorities have already been instructed to submit to ships Masters of ships of any flag the relevant notice to mariners that designates the area of maritime blockade by Israel.
More specifically, for ships flying the Greek flag, relevant entries shall be made in the ships logbook together with the reception of the above mentioned notice to mariners as well as with the communication by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, dated 22 June 2011.
Furthermore, the broader maritime area of eastern Mediterranean will be continuously monitored by electronic means for tracking, where applicable, the movements of the ships allegedly participating in such campaign.
Finally, police controls of passengers and crews are conducted while there is cooperation with local police and customs Authorities for rigorous controls on issues of their competence.
Source: Irish Ship To Gaza, 2 July 2011