Cyprus Mail

‘We’re waiting for Israel to approve docking of aid ship’

ΠτΔ – Επίσκεψη στο Στρατόπεδο «Μιχ
President Nikos Christodoulides

President Nikos Christodoulides on Thursday said the Israeli government had not yet approved the docking of the ship initially identified as the British vessel RFA ‘Lyme Bay’, reported by various sources as the first humanitarian aid ship sent from Cyprus to Gaza.

The ship reportedly left Larnaca over the weekend in a move heralded by the government as the start of the humanitarian maritime corridor.

“We are waiting for final approval from Israel,” Christodoulides said. “We are ready. I want to thank the UK for its cooperation. We are in constant contact with Britain, as well as with the EU, and we are waiting on the Israeli side.”

There is, however, still confusion regarding the exact location of the ship. According to ‘Marine Traffic’, a maritime analytics website which provides real-time information on the movement of ships and the current location of ships in harbours and ports, the RFA ‘Lyme Bay’ appeared to be located off the coast of Bahrain on Thursday.

On Tuesday, during a UK parliamentary session, the British Undersecretary of State Andrew Mitchell said: “Lyme Bay is loaded with supplies in Cyprus, and is ready to sail once we can be assured that the support can be received and delivered.”

In a parallel debate in the House of Lords, the other Undersecretary of State Richard Benyon said that “the RFA Lyme Bay is off Cyprus, ready to go and that will require the consent of both sides of the conflict to dock.”

“I can’t say anything more than that,” Benyon added.

On top of that, ‘Navy Lookout’, an independent UK publication run by naval journalists with contributors which include ex-forces personnel and academics, tweeted on Wednesday that the HMS Duncan, a UK destroyer which the publication claimed would escort the ‘Lyme Bay’ vessel to the shores of Gaza, was also seen arriving in Spain on Monday.

The tweet then hinted at the possibility that the humanitarian aid mission to Gaza was scrapped due to it being too risky or impractical.

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