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article imageTargeted Israeli cargo ship quietly unloaded in SF Bay Area

By Nathan Salant     Aug 27, 2014 in World
Oakland - A cargo ship targeted by protesters upset over Israel's actions in Gaza was quietly unloaded in Oakland overnight and headed out of the bay early Wednesday.
"All the work was completed," said Craig Merrilees, a spokesman for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, whose members unloaded the vessel.
The ship, the Zim Piraeus, "was untied this morning and cast off at 8:45," Merrilees told the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
But the ship's destination was unclear after a contentious two days in Oakland, the largest port in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The shipping company, Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd., is Israel's largest.
Pro-Palestinian activists had been protesting at the docks since Saturday, a day before the Zim Piraeus cargo ship arrived at the Middle Harbor Road terminal.
One of the protest leaders said her group, the Arab Resource and Organizing Center of San Francisco, had succeeded in delaying the unloading of the ship for several days.
"Zim has undoubtedly suffered significant economic losses, and we have set a powerful precedent for what international solidarity with Palestine, through boycott, divestment and sanctions, can look like," Reem Assil told the newspaper.
Longshore workers had initially refused to unload the ship while protesters were picketing and there was a large contingent of Alameda County Sheriff's Department officers at the port terminal.
Union leader Melvin MacKay said the workers would not report to their jobs "under armed police escort," the Chronicle said, citing a 2003 protest at which Oakland cops fired nonlethal projectiles at demonstrators against the Iraq war.
But workers returned to their jobs later on Tuesday because the "safety issue" had been resolved, even though the protest continued, a union spokeswoman told the newspaper.
Israel's consul general in San Francisco, Andy David, told the newspaper that the shipping company was owned by Israeli shareholders and international interests, including banks and other shipping companies.
More about Israel, Palestinians, Oakland, Gaza, Protests
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