The MV Rachel Corrie, a converted merchant ship bought by pro-Palestinian activists and named after an American woman killed in the Gaza Strip in 2003, set off on Monday from Malta, organizers said.
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen described the vessel as Irish-owned and said it should be allowed to finish its mission. The ship was carrying 15 activists including a northern Irish Nobel Peace laureate. "The government has formally requested the Israeli government to allow the Irish-owned ship ... to be allowed to complete its journey unimpeded and discharge its humanitarian cargo in Gaza," Cowen told parliament in Dublin. (Reuters)