1 April 2010 Edition

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Irish activists buy boat to break Palestine blockade

The MV Linda will be renamed the MV Rachel Corrie

The MV Linda will be renamed the MV Rachel Corrie

On Tuesday, the Free Gaza Movement bought a 1,200 tonne cargo ship at an auction in Dundalk. The MV Linda had been impounded a year ago following an inspection by the International Transport Federation (ITF), which found that its owners had exploited its Lithuanian crew members – not paying their wages and subjecting them to humiliating treatment.    
ITF Inspector and SIPTU organiser Ken Fleming said: “We are pleased to announce that this vessel, which was used to subject workers to modern day slavery, will now be used to promote human rights for the people of Palestine.    
The Free Gaza Movement now owns four ships, including three passenger vessels.  Its vessels will take part in an international flotilla taking humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza strip this May. Passenger and cargo ships are also being organised by the Turkish humanitarian organisation I.H.H., and by groups in Greece, Sweden, Malaysia and Belgium.    
Free Gaza has launched eight missions to Gaza over the past two years. Five were successful. The last two were violently stopped by the Israeli Navy.    
The Irish ship will be taking 500 tons of cement, as well as medicines, medical equipment and educational materials to the people of Gaza.
In preparation for the launch of the Irish ship, hospitals, trade unions, churches, mosques, families and community groups are being invited to sponsor bags of cement to help the people of Gaza to rebuild
The MV Linda, will be re-named the MV Rachel Corrie, in memory of the 23-year-old solidarity activist crushed to death in 2003 by an Israeli bulldozer as she attempted to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in Gaza.

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