[Updated at 12:23 p.m.] An Irish-owned aid ship headed for Gaza is delaying its voyage for a while to get equipped with video capabilities and satellite transmission to record what is happening at any given moment on the vessel, a Free Gaza Movement activist told CNN.
The MV Rachel Corrie, named for an American activist killed in Gaza several years ago, was expected to arrive late Friday or early Saturday off the coast of Gaza. Israel was offering to unload it in its Ashdod port, screen the material and then deliver it to Gaza, but fears of another high-seas confrontation were in the offing.
Adam Shapiro, Free Gaza board member, said the additions to the ship are being made for safety purposes.
Shapiro said Israel has made it clear it would intercept the ship and he hopes recording technology on the ship will make a difference in the behavior of any soldiers who board the vessel.
"Israel will be sensitive to the fact that we'll be recording what's happening and streaming it live," said Shapiro, who didn't identify where the Rachel Corrie is docking. He said it will head toward Gaza within the week.
An Israeli government official, who spoke on background because of the diplomatic sensitivity of the issue, told CNN the government is offering to receive the ship's cargo, as it has offered other vessels, if it docks at Ashdod port.
That was the same deal rejected by the flotilla of six ships bound for Gaza before Israeli commandos raided one of them Monday.
Haaretz, the Israeli daily newspaper, reported on Thursday that a "diplomatic solution" that would allow the vessel to dock at Ashdod "seems imminent."
Citing European diplomats and senior Foreign Ministry officials in Jerusalem, the newspaper said "quiet messages have been exchanged over the past few days between Israel and the group operating the ship, to allow it to dock" in Israel.
But Shapiro said people on the ship deny that report and believe it is part of a misinformation campaign by the Israeli government.
Free Gaza Movement activist Derek Graham has said that the plan was for the Rachel Corrie to be unloaded in Gaza and then return to Ireland.
[Posted at 11:15 a.m.] The Rachel Corrie, an aid ship headed to Gaza, has turned around in international waters to dock at a port, Adam Shapiro of the Free Gaza Movement said Thursday.
Shapiro declined to identify the port but said the ship will be back on the water within a week.