Herman Reksten was Captain of the Freedom Flotilla fishing vessel Al Awda (The Return) which sailed in 2018, his third attempt to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza. He is a Norwegian citizen and a sailor.
Herman first participated as a sailor in Ship to Gaza Sweden’s mission with Estelle in 2012, and a second time with Marianne av Göteborg in 2015. Both missions were attacked in international waters by the heavily armed Israeli Occupation navy who kidnapped and imprisoned the international crew on board before they were deported. These were acts which should be considered state piracy, according to Herman, who does not accept what is happening to the people living in Gaza or the illegal blockade of the only port in the Mediterranean Sea not open for trade.
Herman strongly believes he is obliged to show solidarity with other seafarers.
“Being a sailor is an international profession. Every single day Palestinian fishermen in Gaza are harassed and shot at, even within their “own zones”. As a sailor in Norway I have a duty to show solidarity with other seafarers. I cannot just sit still and look at what’s happening. We choose to get involved in this kind of mission, to give a voice to those who have no choice.”
Herman captained Handala from Oslo to Scotland in 2023; he can be interviewed in Norwegian or English.
This is an interview with Herman in the Norwegian newspaper Bergensavisen on 27 April 2018: https://www.ba.no/nyheter/utenriks/krig-og-konflikter/vi-frykter-at-israel-angriper/s/5-8-785371