An Israeli containership "Zim Piraeus" that was scheduled to dock at the port of Oakland in California on Saturday, August 16, remained at sea as between 2,000 and 3,000 pro-Palestinian activists streamed towards the port entrance, chanting and waving flags. The protesters intended to form a picket line to prevent work crews from unloading the ship.
The Zim Integrated Shipping Services vessel the "Zim Piraeus," that was prevented from docking and unloading, rerouted Saturday afternoon and spent a day off the coast of California before docking at the port Sunday evening.
After four days of delay the vessel has been unloaded, according to ILWU Coast Longshore Division.
The ship left the port on Tuesday August 19, afternoon, heading for Los Angeles, but after a while at sea, it returned to a different part of the harbour.
Members of the ILWU dock workers’ union in Oakland, California, on Wednesday afternoon unloaded the ZIM ship that anti-Israel picketers blocked last week.
Angry protesters were helpless to stop the work; the ship had left port earlier this week and sailed towards the direction of Los Angeles but then made a U-turn and returned to the same harbor. Longshoremen were pulled off task from other ships in the middle of the night to unload the ZIM vessel.
The ship was carrying cargo from Asia and not from Israel. It is understood that what's enabled the 'activists' to keep the ship away from the port has been cooperation from the local branch of the ILWU - the International Longshoremens' Workers Union. However, that cooperation is unlikely to continue for very long. Under normal circumstances, the port operator and the longshoremen’s union would have an arbiter adjudicate such a situation, since the longshoremen would be bound contractually to show up for work and unload the ZIM Piraeus’s cargo.
A similar blockade against a Zim vessel took place in 2010, when pro-Palestinian activists formed picket lines in response to Israel’s attack on a flotilla ferrying humanitarian outreach workers to Gaza.