10 February 2003

Spectacular entrance to Valetta

The M V Barbara arrives at Malta this evening (4.30 local time). This will be the first stop on its voyage to Israel, with a cargo of emergency supplies for the people of Gaza.
It promises to be a spectacular arrival in Valetta.
The Dove and Dolphin banner which carries a message of 'reverence for all life'
– running the whole length of the boat - will be floodlit, producing a dramatic vision as the Barbara approaches this ancient harbour.
The boat will dock for the night in Valetta, giving the Dove and Dolphin team and the ship’s crew time to re-stock, post letters and make contact.
It will be a busy time though for David Halpin, leader of the mission, who is currently deeply embroiled in sorting out certification required by the Ministry of Defence.
A message from the ship says that it could take a week to obtain the necessary certificate and David is in close touch with the British embassy, attempting to move things along as fast and as smoothly as possible.
It’s not the first problem the mission has experienced with paperwork since leaving Torquay on 1st February.
Back at home, Sue Halpin – wife of David – has been in touch with all the manufacturers from which tonnes of food have been bought.
Certificates of food hygiene were needed and Sue has had a hectic time obtaining them and having them faxed to Malta.
The team is expecting to leave Valetta on Tuesday, heading for their next and final stop, the port of Ashdod in Israel.
As the Barbara approached Malta and mobile phone connection was established, phones began to ring.
Besides dealing with the embassy and other officials, David has been busy handling many press calls from home and overseas.
It is something he is keen to do for he believes that exposure is the lifeblood of ht emission.
Raising awareness of suffering and demonstrating that something can be done about it on a “citizen to citizen” basis is his main aim.
It has cost David and Sue £95,000 to mount the mission and David’s hope is that others will now be moved to make similar runs.
The Dove and Dolphin mission is entirely non-political and non-religious. There are no other charitable or voluntary organisations involved.
In approximately one week’s time the M V Barbara will reach Ashdod.
John Maughan – one of the voluntary team aboard the boat – reports there should be no hold ups as long as the paperwork is in order.
“We thought that there was a public holiday next weekend in Israel but we have discovered that Ashdod will be working throughout Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday so we should have a clear run,” he says.
At Ashdod the cargo will be loaded on to trucks and taken to Gaza.
There it will be re-loaded on to local lorries and taken directly to those in need.
You can learn more about the Dove and Dolphin Mission at www.doveanddolphin.co.uk