Ships from Turkey to Gaza Transporting Humanitarian Aid Denied Passage

Ships from Turkey to Gaza Transporting Humanitarian Aid Denied Passage

Ships carrying humanitarian aid traveling from Turkey to Gaza were denied the right to sail by an international shipping registry.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC), a grassroots organization working to bring an “end” to the “illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza,” was contacted by the Guinea Bissau International Ships Registry (GBISR) on Thursday, “requesting” to inspect one of their ships, according to the press release from the FFC.

“On Thursday afternoon, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition was contacted by the Guinea Bissau International Ships Registry (GBISR), requesting an inspection of our lead ship – Akdenez,” the FFC wrote. “This was a highly unusual request as our ship had already passed all required inspections; nevertheless, we agreed.”

FFC notes that on Friday afternoon, “before the inspection was completed,” the GBISR informed the FFC that the “Guinea Bissau flag” was being “withdrawn” from two of the FFC’s ships, one of which was a cargo ship carrying more than 5,000 tons of humanitarian aid for Palestinians living in Gaza.

The move by the GBISR was labeled “blatantly political” by the FFC, adding that they could not sail unless they had a flag.

“Without a flag, we cannot sail,” the FFC added.

The FFC wrote

In its communication informing us of this cancelation, the GBISR made specific reference to our planned mission to Gaza. It also made several extraordinary requests for information, including confirmation of the ships’ destination, any potential additional port calls, and the discharged port for humanitarian aid and estimated arrival dates and times. It further demanded a formal letter explicitly approving the transportation of humanitarian aid and a complete manifest of the cargo.

Again, this is a highly unusual move from a flagging authority. Normally, national flagging authorities concern themselves only with safety and related standards on vessels bearing their flags, and are not concerned with the destination, route, cargo manifests or the nature of a specific voyage. Just like when you register your car, the authorities don’t require you to detail to them every place you are going to go with the car.

On October 7, 2023, Hamas, a U.S.-designated Islamic terror group, attacked Israel by land, sea, and air, leaving 1,200 Israelis dead and more than 200 people taken as hostages.

In the aftermath of the attack, Israel launched a self-defense operation in the Hamas-controlled territory of Gaza.

As the war between Israel and Hamas continues, the United Nations food security agency has estimated that residents in Northern Gaza may already be experiencing famine.

Roughly 677,000 and 1.1 million people in Gaza were estimated to be experiencing food insecurity.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) released a press release in March revealing that famine was “imminent in northern Gaza between now and May.”

As of April 20, the USAID had confirmed that it would be working with the United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP) in order to transport humanitarian aid to the people in Gaza.

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