Protests targeting Zim to continue in Tacoma, Seattle


Protests will continue on the U.S. West Coast against Israel-based Zim Integrated Shipping Services, as new actions are scheduled in Seattle and Tacoma next week.

Protesters from the activist group “Block the Boat” announced plans to protest in both Seattle and Tacoma, upon the arrival of the ship Zim Chicago. Zim faced protests at the Port of Oakland this week that forced a partially unloaded ship to return to Asia.

The activists have followed Zim’s movements via spotters and also via websites meant to update customers on ship arrival times. According to the Block the Boat Northwest website, the protests, which were widely reported as scheduled for next week, will begin on Friday and run through the weekend. The protesters plan to follow the ship from its first stop in Tacoma to its second stop in Seattle.

In a protest this past week in Oakland, Block the Boat organizers showed up en masse, stopping 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 left for Asia.

The SSA Terminal in Oakland that Zim attempted to dock at also had trouble dealing with workers of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Workers cited safety concerns in refusing to work, even after protests dispersed. The protest drew hundreds on Sunday, but numbers dwindled to 15-20 by Monday night. SSA had trouble getting longshore workers in on Tuesday. The JOC reported the terminal called for laborers and none showed up to work.

ILWU spokesman Craig Merrilees said that the ILWU will not take a stance on the protest, but was aware of more plans for protesting in Seattle and Tacoma.

“It will continue to be handled as a situation where the union is not taking a position on any of the partisan aspects of the issue involving the protestors, but it really depends on how the protestors and the police respond,” Merrilees said. “If it escalates to the point where it feels unsafe, the ILWU will be reluctant to work. Union members aren’t going to get in the middle of this and risk health and safety.”

According to the Port of Tacoma’s website, the Zim Chicago is set to berth at the port’s Washington Terminal at 8 p.m. on Friday. Zim’s vessel schedule shows the Chicago left Port Metro Vancouver earlier on Friday, and will call at Tacoma over the weekend, and will be in Seattle from Aug. 24 to Aug. 25.

The Port of Seattle said that it is working with the port’s police department and all of its customers and partners to ensure that cargo transfer goes smoothly. The Port of Tacoma was also aware of the situation.

“We respect the right people have to express diverse opinions and to organize protests,” Port of Tacoma spokesperson Tara Mattina said. “We will continue to work closely with customers and police to keep people and cargo safe and secure.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *