The Audacity of Failure: No US Boat for Gaza
US flotilla organizers behind the 'Audacity of Hope' have called it quits saying Greek authorities have made their journey impossible.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 7/6/2011, 8:28 PM / Last Update: 7/6/2011, 9:35 PM
Organizers behind the US 'Audacity of Hope' Gaza flotilla ship announced Wednesday they were throwing in the towel and would not be going to Gaza.
"The Greek government’s willingness to serve as the enforcer of Israeli’s naval blockade of Gaza made it impossible for this journey to happen," organizers complained on their website.
"Now our folks are beginning the journey home – some will arrive today, some tomorrow and others in the days ahead," the organizers wrote of the ship's 37 passengers and 4 crew.
The 'Audacity of Hope' was stopped by the Hellenic Coast Guard when it tried to leave port without permission on Friday.
Its captain, John Klusmire, was arrested after he refused to return to port, sparking a 2-hour standoff that was only concluded when Greek commandos boarded the vessel and forced it to return to a Greek military dock, where it has been impounded.
Klusmire was subsequently charged with attempting to violate the Greek no-sail policy on Gaza and endangering his passengers before being released on his own recognizance.
Nine other passengers from the Audacity were arrested for staging a protest without a permit in front of the American embassy in Athens after the incident, but were subsequently released.
The 'Audacity' is not the only ship involved in the this year's 'Freedom Flotilla 2' to have met its Waterloo in Greece. Most of the 10-boat flotilla has found itself impeded by the Hellenic Coast Guard.
The Canadian vessel Tahrir attempted to interfere with the Hellenic Coast Guard cutter that blocked their departure by sending kayakers into its path. The move was to no avail and the captain of the cutter ultimately rammed the Canadian vessel to force it back to port.
Four Canadians involved in the incident - including one of the kayakers - remain in Greek custody at this time.