Ship details: In 1968, Abie Nathan purchased a 170 foot, 570 ton Dutch freighter Cito built in Delfzijl, Groningen (Netherlands) in April 1940 at the Gebr. van Diepen, Waterhuizen shipyard. The ship was originally named Rolf, renamed Westpolder in 1950, and Cito in 1960. Abie renamed the ship Peace and registered it in Panama. In 1969 the ship sailed from Amsterdam under the command of Captain Jaap Stengs, trying to raise funds. It was only after the twenty strong volunteer crew went on hunger strike that funds started to roll in. Three years were spent in America, anchored in New York harbour, where they were served a summons for being a danger to the health and welfare of the citizens of New York. Most of the money raised went on paying harbour fees. After a ten day hunger strike by Abie in 1973, more money started to arrive. A 50,000 Watt transmitter was installed and a 160 foot aerial mast erected. The mast was originally intended for the Mebo II, but was donated and air freighted to New York when the Mebo II was purchased. On 16th March 1973, the MV Peace set sail from New York into the Atlantic. A short test broadcast was made on 1540 Khz. A leak developed and the ship went to Bermuda for repairs. The ship then sailed towards Israel. A storm forced the ship to take shelter off the coast of Cyprus. Another leak developed and contaminated the fresh water supply. The Peace returned to Marseilles for repairs. On 20th April, the MV Peace arrived in Marseilles. The ships captain Francois Bonzon and Abie persuaded the Marseille prostitutes to donate one nights takings to the Peace ship.
On 21st May 1973, the Peace ship set sail for Israel. During the October war the ship moved to the Suez Canal, while the soldiers listened to the station, but they only laughed at requests to lay down their arms. On 5th October, an Israeli gunboat ordered the Voice of Peace to close down, on the outbreak of the Middle East War. On 25th December, the vessel anchored off Italy. The Peace arrived in Marseilles at the beginning of the New Year 1974. Rumours circulated that the ship was for sale, but these turned out to be false, just waiting for new backers. While the ship was in Marseilles it was dry docked and many items repaired.
In May 1975 the MV Peace left harbour heading for Egyptian waters. It was hoped the Peace ship would be able to join the first convoy through the Suez canal after its reopening. But the Egyptians did not let the ship enter the Suez Canal, and the MV Peace was guarded by Egyptian boats. In June the Peace ship left Egyptian waters and broadcast an appeal to be allowed to use of the Canal. The ship headed north to an anchorage off Ashdod. It continued northwards and entered harbour in Haifa. Funds were again low, and Abie went fund raising. In January 1977, a convoy left Port Said and finally the MV Peace was allowed through the Canal, after proving that the ship was not Israeli. In the afternoon the convoy arrived at Suez and the Peace ship continued towards Eilat. On 4th January the MV Peace arrived at Eilat. On 10th January broadcasts resumed, but only after the MV Peace travelled back through the Canal to its old anchorage off Tel Aviv.
In March 1980 the MV Peace went to Haifa and was dry docked to repair storm damage, and allow examination for insurance purposes so the Lloyds of London certificate could be renewed. In May 1988 the MV Peace sailed to Haifa and was overhauled and given a new coat of paint in dry dock. In January 1993 the MV Peace was again dry docked in Haifa and overhauled.
In October 1993 the MV Peace sailed to Ashdod where the studio equipment, generators and transmitter parts were removed from the ship. On 28th November, the MV Peace set sail on her final voyage, fifteen miles off the Israeli coast, reaching the destination at about 12:00 hours. The hull plugs were removed from the engine room and lower hold, and the pumps switched on, to pump water into the ship. At 19:33 hours the ship sank.
Offshore radio station: Voice of Peace from 26th May to 4th November 1973 and from 28th May 1975 to 1st October 1993
Location: Just within national waters off Tel-Aviv (Israel)