JERUSALEM, Israel - The Irish-owned MV Rachel Corrie 'humanitarian aid' boat expects to reach Israeli waters within 24 hours, according to Free Gaza Movement spokeswoman Greta Berlin.
Earlier Friday, the movement's legal advisor, Audrey Bomse, told Army Radio the 1,200-ton ship would be returning to Ireland because it would not sail without its two "public relations" vessels carrying journalists and activists, which had sustained substantial technical damage last week while docked in Greece.
Bomse claimed Israel had sabotaged the ships, and they would not be seaworthy for weeks.
"As a result of these threats, we're going to pull the Rachel Corrie into a port, add more high-profile people on board, and insist that journalists from around the world also come with us," Bomse said, according to Agence France Presse (AFP).
A short time later, Bomse announced they had lost radio contact with the boat and were hoping to get "communications turned back on…to inform them of the decision."
On Thursday, passenger Denis Halliday, former U.N. deputy secretary-general, said his fellow activists did not plan to react violently if the Israeli Navy intercepted them. Halliday said they would follow orders.
Behind-the-scenes talks between Israeli and Irish government officials earlier this week indicated the ship might be willing to unload its cargo at the Ashdod port for immediate land transport to Gaza.
Malaysia and Ireland are co-sponsoring the latest attempt to break Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.