Why Was the Mavi Marmara Reflagged Just Before Sailing? 84

Contrary to virtually all media reports to date, it appears the Mavi Marmara was reflagged from Turkey to the Comoros Islands around 20 May, shortly before heading the peace flotilla.

This is very important. While the Israeli attack remains illegal, it means that the injured party – and the party with legal jurisdiction over the event – is the incapable Comoros Islands rather than the highly capable Turkey. It also greatly reduces the NATO angle, unless other attacked ships were flying the Turkish flag.

But the question must be why on earth was the flag changed just before sailing, and who instigated it?

Flags of convenience are normally adopted for purely commercial reasons to escape regulations of s “serious” flag state like the UK or US, in particular on issues like rates of pay, union recognition, working conditions and hours etc. The Turkish owned merchant fleet uses flags of convenience much less than other advance nations – possibly from national pride, possibly because Turkish regulations are not too onerous anyway.

But it would seem remarkable if the owners of the ship decided for commercial reasons to switch flags just before sailing in the “Peace flotilla”. It is on the face of it a remarkably foolish decision. Did the Turkish governrnent influence it to lessen the political responsibility of Turkey in any incident? Did Israel manage to influence the owners in any way? Is the vessel leased? Who are the owners, and just why did they do this?

None of this masks the illegality of Israel attacking a ship under any foregin flag in international waters. But bluntly, it was a stupid decision in practice by the protestors to set sail in a Comoros flagged ship.

Fortunately the MV Rachel Corrie is Irish registered, and the flag state (Ireland) has already shown it takes its duty seriously by telling the Israeli government it expects the Rachel Corrie to pass unhindered.

84 thoughts on “Why Was the Mavi Marmara Reflagged Just Before Sailing?

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  • Larry from St. Louis


    Your “soft” Holocaust denial is noted. You might very well agree that 6 million Jews were killed (although I doubt it) ?” regardless, you’re probably one of those revisionists who, in part, tries to blame the Holocaust on a select few of Germans.

    And of course I meant the Wehrmacht. The SS wasn’t the sole culprit in the genocide. Did you happen to catch the Crimes of the Wehrmacht exhibition? I did.

    And it wasn’t just the armed forces. The civilian authorities had the Jews declare all of their assets before they came and liquidated them.

    I don’t happen to think that “the German people’s conscience was purged” because that weasel Goring took his own life.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    ScouseBilly, pretty simple. You deny being a denier. In parallel, it’s a standard tactic for genocidaires to deny attacking their victims.

    You wrote above: “For the 12 years ’33-’45 in particular the German people were taken to war on a false prospectus, their media controlled …”

    Tell me more! Who was controlling the media?

  • ScouseBilly

    Larry, now you’re back peddling.

    I happen to have some very good orthodox jewish suppliers in my line of business.

    These are long standing relationships (over 20 years). They don’t like the zionists either and I can safely say none of them would consider me in the least anti-semitic, let alone a holocaust denier.

    Yes, you are right there were atrocities committed by the Wehrmacht and civil servants did indeed “process” the holocaust victims. However, by far the worst offenders were the SS.

    We only have to look at Abu Ghraib, or the activities of some Social Services here in the UK to see parallels in modern society involving regular army and civil/public servants.

    Anyhow, it is plain wrong to hold Germany’s population in 2010 collectively responsible for the holocaust. That’s not denial.

  • ScouseBilly

    Larry: “Tell me more! Who was controlling the media?”

    I thought you were an expert.

    Go look up Goebbels.

    Do you know of any anti-Nazi media in Germany at the time?

    Do tell, Larry.

  • Larry from St. Louis


    “Anyhow, it is plain wrong to hold Germany’s population in 2010 collectively responsible for the holocaust.”

    I don’t.

    “We only have to look at Abu Ghraib, or the activities of some Social Services here in the UK to see parallels in modern society involving regular army and civil/public servants.”

    My God. I agree with you on Abu Ghraib – yes, Charles Graner and his gang committed horrible acts on par with Hamas terrorists or the SS in 1941.

    But of course he’s a psychopath who’s doing hard time, and we can all be thankful that those pictures were distributed to the government and the media by people who were disgusted with that conduct.

    As to “Social Services” in Britain – I very much doubt that your government is forcing you to fill out a Vermogensverzeichnis, or listing of assets, so that they can come and confiscate them later. I doubt that your government is forcing you to tell on your neighbors, under penalty of law. I doubt that there’s a minority in Britain that is justifiably in fear of liquidation.

    But I could be wrong.

    Perhaps your best bet is to move to America, where you’re relatively unmolested. Do you have any useful skills?

  • Owen

    The Rachel Corrie was Camoodian flagged, it was on a cargo run between the baltic and Dundalk in Ireland, where the ship was subsequently arrested initally for minor safety breaches on board. These were rectified with the help of the harbour master, but the owners refused to pay for an inspection that would have ended the problem. Soon it became clear that the crew had been owed back pay and that they had been overworked, thus the involvment of Ken Flemming.

    The vessel was sold at auction in the Fairways hotel in Dundalk to the present owners, the funds generated helped to pay crew back pay.

  • Mae

    Craig – Sorry to kick this discussion of like that, I should have known considering how hot tempers are running on these issues.

    ScouseBilly – I am Eastgerman. My history lessons, in contrast to Westgerman ones, included in great detail the atrocities committed during WWII. Aged 14, all Eastgerman children were taken to the museums at former concentration camps, shown all the exhibits, met holocaust survivors and made to watch the original footage taken by the Allied forces when they liberated these camps. In my class it was the boys who threw up, but I can still remember this day vividly, I’ll never forget what I saw.

    I do not think I am personally responsible. I was attacked as a teenager by gypsies whose grandparents were killed by the Nazis and was defended by other gypsies in the group who did not agree that it was MY fault. During D-Day in 1995 I got some abuse for being German even in the UK, and I banned one guy from my club for being abusive, although I respected his opinion and would have been happy to listen had he remained respectful.

    Of course not everyone supported Hitler, a lot of people disagreed with his policies, but propaganda – as we have seen again this week – is a powerful tool for mind and crowd control, and the Nazis truly mastered the art of bending reality with their words. The brainwashing continued in the GDR, albeit in a different direction, and I am still shaking it off today.

    A lot of people had no idea, and a lot knew some things but chose to go along with it. The resistance was certainly getting the information out and many people simply didn’t think their goevernment could be capable of such things, “surely”, so it was reasoned, “it can’t be true, we would never do that”.

    In my family, one side were members of the KPD, the other side were in love with Hitler. My gran, who kept telling me till the end that Hitler did good things, even trained as a pilot as a girl, a victory for women’s rights I find hard to be proud of given the circumstances.

    I hold us collectively responsible for creating the circumstances that have led to the situation in Palestine and Isreal. After waking up to what goes on there last year, I have had many discussions about the new German culpability in allowing this to go on but most Germans feel that maybe in a few generations, maybe in a hundred years or so, we can start helping the Palestinians properly but not know.

    I disagree. I think we have a responsibilty NOW to step in. The holocaust nearly exterminated the Jewish people and that, IMO, is the root cause for their insecurity and their feeling of entitlement to extreme measures of “self-defense”. But if we keep looking on, we, too, will be responsible for what happens to the Palestinian people and I for one do not want or need that on my conscience.

  • Egbert

    Larry from St Louis:

    Does the death of 500,000+ Iraqis (which Albright charming said was a price worth paying) constitute genocide? If not, how many Arabs have to be killed for it to constitute genocide?

  • Amanda

    The question in all this that I can’t make sense of is why the Israeli’s attacked in international waters. Presumably if they had waited then they would have a greater claim to legitimacy and the international response would have been much less harsh? What did they gain by not waiting a few hours?

  • Christina

    “What did they gain by not waiting a few hours?”

    As has been said, cover of darkness and the element of surprise.

    Or it could just be that the Israelis are stark raving mad. Personally, I go for the latter option.

  • nermine

    Was there any hint of false flag?

    Yes Yes Yes.

    the very first video released of the attack shows it clearly.

  • Egghead

    “Does the death of 500,000+ Iraqis (which Albright charming said was a price worth paying) constitute genocide? If not, how many Arabs have to be killed for it to constitute genocide?”

    You are clearly ignorant about the meaning of the word “genocide”.

    Take a lie down.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Uber-Zionists never sleep! The battalions of mendacity are on full alert right now in cyberspace and across the media. But the Big Lie doesn’t work any more.

  • glenn

    Hello AngrySoba. You asked, “Well, how exceedingly generous! Does your wife know you talk like this?”

    As a matter of fact, she’s the one who suggested that the Israelis would have been extremely enthusiastic supporters of the Nazis, had they been given the chance.

    You might be confusing authors – I wrote nothing about Ukrainians or Bolsheviks.

    How, exactly, is it “anti-Semitic” to notice the fondness of Israelis for what passed for fun with the Nazis?

    How about when Nazi soldiers stopped a couple of Jews, and made the Jew play his fiddle for their amusement, before finally allowing them through the checkpoint. That was a humiliating, disgusting way for the Germans to have behaved, and… Oh – sorry, I got that wrong. It was _Israeli_ soldiers who stopped _Palestinian_ travelers, and made the Palestinian play his fiddle for their amusement!


    Is such an observation race hatred towards Jews? Apparently, for some reason, you wish that it was – or at least, that it was regarded as such.

  • Doug

    The ship’s Comoran registry is also confirmed by the international web site Equasis (http://www.equasis.org):

    IMO number: 9005869

    Name of ship: MAVI MARMARA (during 1994)

    Call Sign: D6FU2

    MMSI: 616952000

    Gross tonnage: 4142 (during 1994)

    DWT: 525

    Type of ship: Passenger Ship (during 1993)

    Year of build: 1994

    Flag: Comoros (since 01-05-2010)

    Status of ship: In Service/Commission (since 30-12-1994)

    Last update: 01-06-2010

    The ship’s manager and owner are both listed as:

    IHH INSAN HAK VE HURRIYETLERI Taylasan Sokak 3, Kirmasti Mah, Fatih, 34083 Istanbul, Turkey.

    Turk Loydu is listed as the ship’s classification society but according to the Turk Loydu web site (http://www.turkloydu.org) the ship’s class was suspended on 1 May because of an overdue survey. On that day she was still listed as being registered in Turkey. It is possible that the ship was re-flagged in order to avoid said survey.

  • Monty

    Interesting snippet in the WSJ about why the Mavi Marmara was re-flagged.

    QUOTE “The IHH bought the Mavi Marmara, a disused ferry, several months ago from Turkey’s state ferry company for about $1.15 million, both parties say.

    Mr. Faruq [a 46-year-old member of the IHH board] dismissed speculation in the Israeli media that the IHH may have been a proxy for the Turkish government in seeking to pressure Israel. He noted that when the group bought the ship, the government reregistered it so that it wasn’t licensed for use in open seas. That, he said, forced the IHH to register the ship under a new flag in the Comoros Islands. Turkey has also denied it gave the charity any instructions.” ENDQUOTE


  • NJ

    I hate to burst everyone’s bubble, but in fact Israel DOES have rights over the Gaza waters.

    The problem is that in the Oslo Accords (both 1 & 2) and all others, the Palestinian Authority ceded control of border crossings, the coast, and airspace to Israel until such time as a permanent and final treaty agreement with regards to the formation of a Palestinian state, rather than a Palestinian Authority came into being.

    Now Hamas rejects this, but because it is an international obligation signed by the representatives of both Israel and Palestine at the time of it’s signing, it still stands. Hamas would have to use some internal constitutional measure in keeping with Palestinian internal law to remove itself from the agreement, but since Hamas seized power and ejected half of the elected government from Gaza in 2007, because while it won the majority vote, it did not have the parliamentary seats to form a majority government. So what we have is half of the government of Gaza in exile because Hamas threw them out because it opposes Democratic governments by it’s charter.

    So we have another legal problem. While Hamas won the most votes in 2006, it does not constitute the entire government, and while they will not allow Fatah representatives to take their seats in the legislature, you cannot have any constitutional or other VOTE to reject the Oslo and other agreements made by previous governments.

    This entire thing of course is being ignored by the media, and other groups largely because it is an “inconvenient truth”

  • JJ

    If what Israel did to the Mavi Marmara and her passengers is not a problem for Nato, it might be for the ICC…

    Institute for Public Accuracy – Washington, June 07

    1 – John Quigley, professor of int’l law at Ohio State University, said today: “Contrary to what many are claiming, including the New York Times in a front-page article on the Gaza flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, the vessel on which deaths occurred, is not Turkish-flagged. Although formerly Turkish-flagged, the Mavi Marmara was Comoros-flagged by the time of last week’s incident. The point may be of some significance, because Comoros, unlike Turkey, is a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The Court has jurisdiction over war crimes committed on vessels registered in a state that is party to the Rome Statute.”

    2 – Francis Boyle, professor of int’l law at the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, said today: “The highest level officials of the Israeli government who ordered the attack upon the Mavi Marmara can be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court: Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Barak, Foreign Minister Lieberman, General Ashkenazi and the rest of the Israeli council of seven ministers who ordered this criminal attack. Furthermore, under the ICC’s Rome Statute any state party has the power to demand that these Israeli governmental officials be prosecuted.”


  • Nachum Ganzarski

    your assumption that the israeli action on high seas is against the int’l law is completely incorrect and based on emotions against israel rather then on legal points. suggest you to check with maritime law firm in London who are dealing with such law.

    the flag was changed probabely in order not to involved the turkish navy. Arduan the turkish P.M. KNEW VERY WELL THAT HE IS GOING AGAINST THE INT’L MARITIME LAW and most probabely he realised what the results may be, after all he authorized and may be even orgenized this flottila, and he did not want to go to far so to involved his navy in case a turkish flagged ship is stopped.

    the flottila support the HAMAS group which is terrorist group recognized as such all around the world except by turkey, syria and iran, and you so called PEACE KEEPERS are either naives or knoladgeless, hence you are led to completely the wrong direction.

  • JJ

    Article 88 of the Law of the Sea Treaty affirms that the ‘high seas shall be reserved for peaceful purposes,’ with Article 89 stating further that ‘no State may validly purport to subject any part of the high seas to its sovereignty.’ The crimes that Israel committed during its assault on the vessels and civilian passengers of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla fall firmly within the category of ‘high crimes.’ The assault must be defined as a ‘crime against the peace’ and a ‘crime against humanity’ as Israel subjected ‘part of the high seas to its sovereignty’ in an attack on unarmed civilian vessels.

    See also: http://www.scribd.com/doc/32579575/The-Legal-Framework

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