16 February 2003

Barabra rides at anchor off Ashdod

The Dove and Dolphin team are now riding at anchor outside the port of Ashdod in Israel aboard the M V Barbara.
They arrived at 5.30 a.m. local time this morning and are now waiting for a berth to become vacant.
With about a dozen ships ahead of them in the queue, it is not easy to predict exactly when they will be able to berth and start the process of transferring cargo on to lorries.
Latest estimate it that it will be later today (Sunday) or tomorrow morning.
Mission leader David Halpin is in touch with his ground crew who arrived in Israel three days ago to prepare the way for the cargo to be taken by road to its final destination in Gaza.
The cargo of food, medical supplies, clothing and raw materials will be taken to two points in GAza and distributed to those in immediate need, through local networks.
The Dove and Dolphin mission is funded directly by David Halpin and his wife Sue, from Haytor in Devon.
Buying the cargo, chartering the boat and all other administrative costs have so far totalled £95,000. However, donations have now reached approximately £25,000, offsetting the final bill.
In a message from the Barbara, David Halpin says his team on the ground sound to be “bright eyed and bushy-tailed, eager to see the final stage of the mission get under way.”
Once the cargo is loaded on to lorries they will head for the border town of Karni, about an hour’s drive from Ashdod.
At Karni the cargo will be transferred to Palestinian lorries and the convoy will set off for drop-off points in Gaza City and the refugee camp at Khan Yunis.
The whole Dove and Dolphin team aim to stay with the convoy until it reaches journey’s end and will fly back to London on Thursday.
They will get back to the west country late Thursday night or early Friday morning.