Protesters fail to disrupt Zim ship operations at Tacoma

Protesters fail to disrupt Zim ship operations at Tacoma

JOC Staff | Aug 23, 2014 2:49PM EDT

The Zim Chicago was being worked at the Port of Tacoma on Saturday morning despite the presence of protesters seeking to disrupt operations of the ship operated by Israel-based Zim Integrated Shipping Services.

According to an alert from the port, as of 8 a.m. Pacific time, protesters had arrived with the objective of preventing the ship’s cargo from being loaded and unloaded. “We are aware that some protesters have arrived to try to disrupt the loading and unloading of the ZIM Chicago, a ship owned by an Israeli shipping line,” the port said an alert. “This protest action appears related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We respect the right people have to express diverse opinions and meet and protest peaceably and legally.”

Tacoma emphasized the need for operations not to be disrupted: “We’re monitoring the situation and coordinating with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to make sure people stay safe, terminals remain secure and cargo keeps moving.”

In a 10 a.m. update, the port said “Longshore workers are loading and unloading the ship, as scheduled.”

According to tweets from a group calling itself Block the Boat, which had disrupted operations of another Zim ship at the Port of Oakland last week, about 100 demonstrators had gathered at about 7:30 AM at Tacoma. Aphoto on the website of the Tacoma News Tribune showed a small number of protesters peaceably demonstrating.

A protest this past week at the Port of Oakland appeared to have greater impact. Protesters under the banner of Block the Boat showed up in larger numbers and prevented the Zim Piraeus from fully unloading. Though the ship came into port on Sunday, it was not unloaded until Tuesday night, when it was berthed at a different terminal. Crews did not finish unloading the ship’s cargo and it eventually departed for Asia.

The Zim Chicago was scheduled to call next at the Port of Seattle on Sunday where protesters were also preparing to disrupt operations.