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MV Finch still waiting to come to shore

May 18, 2011

With fresh food supplies and water dwindling, life on board the Malaysian humanitarian aid ship is becoming unbearable.

EL-ARISH (Egypt): It has been two days since Malaysian humanitarian aid ship MV Finch anchored at the waiting area off El-Arish Port but has yet to receive clear signals if it will be allowed to come to shore, Bernama’s correspondent Mohd Faizal Hassan said in a SMS note to Bernama’s heaquarters here today .

The 12 crew and passengers on board had tried to break through Israel’s siege of the Gaza coast in an effort to deliver aid to Palestinians.

Mohd Faizal said the ship had yet to receive the green light to berth by the Egyptian authorities.

He said the seven Malaysians, two Indians, two Irish nationals and a Canadian on board were having to to put up with cramped conditions and dwindling fresh food supplies and water.

There was only about four tonnes of fresh water left and rationing had been enforced, he said, adding that frantic calls had been made between the ship and El-Arish Port authority, shipping agents in Greece and Egypt as well as Malaysian Embassy officials in Egypt.

Mohd Faizal said it was unclear whether the delay was due to illegal use of Egyptian waters to sneak into Gaza, an act that can be slapped with a fine, or due to incomplete documentation from the shipping agent in Greece where the ship originated.

But whatever the problem may be, he said it was making life unbearable for the people on board.

He said that it was also hampering efforts to unload the ship’s cargo of much needed PVC pipes, which now had been designated to be sent using land transport into Gaza.

Even with money being pumped from Kuala Lumpur to pay for the port fees, things were not moving fast enough, said Mohd Faizal.
He added that it might take more days to clear up things based on the latest developments.

- Bernama


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