Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Protesters Plan Oakland Ship Blockade

By Mark Edward Nero

A group of activists say they plan to prevent two ships from docking at the Port of Oakland on Aug. 2 in order to send a political message to Israel.

According to a Facebook page for the “Block the Boat for Gaza” event, protesters plan to meet around 5:30 a.m. at the Port of Oakland and block two Zim Integrated Shipping commercial vessels at Berth 57, which is run by SSA Terminals. Zim, Israel’s biggest cargo shipping company, is 32 percent owned by the country’s government.

According to Zim, the Liberia-flagged Zim Savannah and German-flagged Ever Conquest are the two container ships slated to arrive at the port Aug. 2 and within 24 hours set sail for China.

The protest organizers, which include the Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace & Justice, say the blockade is being conducted in solidarity with Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip who are directly affected by a recent wave of violence in the region.

“We need to send a clear message that we don't want Israel Corp, or its subsidiary Zim Shipping in our port,” a statement on the event’s Facebook page says in part.

Organizers say that the International Longshore & Warehouse Union has not endorsed the blockade and is not expected to take part, but that the protesters have been communicating with the union to keep it informed about its plans.