A Libyan-commissioned ship carrying aid for the Israeli-blockaded
Gaza Strip is waiting in the Egyptian port of el-Arish as Egyptian officials await further instruction from Cairo on Thursday, DPA reported.
Despite earlier reports that the ship had docked late on Wednesday, it has been waiting in the port overnight, having not been granted permission to stop in the space allocated for it at the dock.
Director of the el-Arish port Jamal Abdelmaksoud said he was waiting for instructions from Cairo and would be holding a meeting with the governor of northern Sinai, Murad Mowafi, to determine what to do with the ship.
The Amalthea, originally heading for Gaza, arrived in the el-Arish port late Wednesday after interception by the Israeli navy. The captain apparently agreed to reroute and not breach Israel's naval blockade of Gaza.
According to the instructions received from officials in Cairo so far, the ship's medical aid will be delivered to Gaza through Egypt's Rafah border crossing, 40 kilometres from the port, Abdelmaksoud said.
Food aid would be delivered through the Karam or the al-Awja border crossings, he added.
"As soon as the ship arrives in el-Arish, Egyptian authorities will unload its cargo and hand the aid to the Egyptian Red Crescent, which will deliver it to the Palestinian side," Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abulgheit had said on Wednesday.
The aid ship's organizers had previously said they were determined to reach the Gaza Strip, in defiance of the Israeli blockade and measures to prevent them from doing so.
On the last leg of its journey, two Israeli ships shadowed the vessel on the Amalthea's port side to ensure that it did not change course in the direction of Gaza.
According to its captain, the ship's main engine was broken on Wednesday, causing it to move extremely slowly.
Its passengers include 15 pro-Palestinian activists, most of them Libyans, except for one Nigerian, one Algerian and one Moroccan. The crew of 12 are from Haiti, Syria and India.
The ship, commissioned by Libya's Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, is carrying 2,000 tons of aid for Gaza and sailed from Greece Saturday.
Israel placed the Gaza Strip under blockade four years ago, after militants from the salient staged a cross-border raid and snatched an Israeli soldier, who is still being held captive in the enclave.
While Israel relaxed the siege last month and now allows in most civilian goods, the naval blockade remains in place, as Israel says it will now allow weapons, or materials used in weapons production, to enter the Gaza Strip, which is governed by the Islamist Hamas movement.