Nicosia newsperson Menelaos Hadjicostis’ persistence and months of source-building with the foreign ministry paid off to earn AP the scoop on the sailing of a U.S. ship laden with aid for Gaza.

Hadjicostis spent months cultivating sources within the Cypriot foreign ministry, including with the foreign minister himself, as part of reporting efforts on Cyprus’ role in creating a maritime route to deliver essential humanitarian aid to Gaza.

After a temporary halt in shipments from Cyprus following the killing of the World Central Kitchen aid workers, another aid delivery was being prepared this time with a U.S. vessel. But when the ship might depart was shrouded in mystery, with neither U.S., Israeli nor Cypriot officials saying anything.

On Thursday, Hadjicostis got word that the Sagamore had left port, but it wasn’t clear whether it was headed to Gaza or had been moved to an anchorage out of sight. That same day, Cypriot Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos was meeting his Slovak counterpart in Nicosia. Hadjicosits knew this was his chance.

The AP was the only international news agency at the meeting’s press conference, and Hadjicostis asked about the ship. The news was the first official confirmation that the long-anticipated aid shipment was on its way.