Finnish police are investigating whether a captain overloaded a boat that sought to breach Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The captain, Mika Jamian, is suspected of exceeding the maximum number of passengers allowed, according to a report Thursday by the Turun Sonomat daily. It said the ship, the Estelle, carried 30 people when it sailed to Gaza last year although its maximum allowed capacity was 17.
Trafi, the Finnish travel safety agency, suspended Jamian’s sailing license for six months, the report said.
“Of course, the ship had too many people, but I could not help it,” Jamian told the Finnish paper.
In July, Mattias Gardell, a spokesman for the Ship to Gaza campaign, told JTA that the ship had carried 17 activists.
The activists who sailed aboard the Estelle to Gaza are part of the international Free Gaza Movement, which argues that the blockade of Gaza is illegal and causing humanitarian problems in Gaza. Israel says the blockade keeps Hamas from obtaining weapons.
The activists were arrested by Israeli navy troops and deported to their countries of origin. The ship was confiscated by Israeli authorities and is still in Israel, according to Turun Sonomat.