for immediate release

Barcelona, Spain

Due to technical problems, the Women’s Boat to Gaza (WBG) Amal-Hope returned to Barcelona and is now docked at a mooring in the Barcelona area. Its sister ship Zaytouna-Oliva was temporarily delayed by the port authorities, although it did possess all necessary documentation. While Amal-Hope is getting assessed for needed repairs, Zaytouna-Oliva has now finally left Barcelona.

With regards to the Amal, WBG crew member, Madeleine Habib from Tasmania, Australia,  explained that “safety is paramount. As eager as we are to visit our sisters in Gaza, we also want to make sure that we aren’t taking unnecessary risks in our voyage.” Habib, a seasoned skipper, has traveled extensively across the Mediterranean in Medecins San Frontières rescue missions to help refugees.

Departure from Barcelona (courtesy Vyara Gylsen)

First departure from Barcelona, 2016.09.14  (courtesy Vyara Gylsen)

WBG participant Yudit Ilany from Israel expressed the collective resolve of the women passengers. “We are certainly disappointed our French friends in Ajaccio may not have a chance to see Amal-Hope, but we trust that they will understand our priority of ensuring we sail to Gaza.”  Wendy Goldsmith, a WBG organizer from Canada, agrees. “The Palestinian people are well-known for their steadfastness which they call sumud. Like them, we must continue with patience and perseverance towards our ultimate destination.”

Once an assessment of the Amal-Hope’s technical problems is complete WBG leadership will assess the prospects of continuing the journey directly to the final European port of call, Messina, Italy.

Claude Léostic, Freedom Flotilla representative in France, notes that while “our friends in Ajaccio will miss having a proper visit with Amal and Zaytouna, they look forward to a visit from one of the boats headed for Gaza.”
UPDATE: at last news, the Zaytouna-Oliva is still in Spanish territorial waters and is being shadowed by Coast Guard vessels. We remain in touch and hope that they will be able to proceed on their voyage towards Ajaccio as planned.
For more information:
Ellen Huttu Hansson. Phone: +46 722 883 213