Israeli ship ultimately unloads cargo in Prince Rupert, B.C.

The Volans, which unloaded its cargo in Prince Rupert, B.C., after being delayed by protesters. (Credit: B'nai Brith Canada)

A ship owned by an Israel-based company managed to unload its cargo at a northern British Columbia port late on June 16, following an effort by protesters to block the vessel.

The Volans, owned by Haifa-based ZIM, was prevented from docking at the Prince Rupert port on June 14 after about 10 pro-Palestinian protesters formed a picket line at the entrance to the facility.

Members of the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) Local 505 refused to cross the picket line.

The action was part of the “Block the Boat” campaign in which pro-Palestinian demonstrators seek to obstruct vessels with ties to Israeli shipping from docking and being unloaded to protest the recent fighting between Israel and Hamas.

Protesters left the port area but promised to return if the ship attempted to dock again.

However, the ship remained in the port area, and was tied and unloaded two days later.

“The vessel docked at Prince Rupert port, unloaded the cargo as planned, and departed the port last night (June 16),” ZIM spokesperson Avner Shats told The CJN in an email, without elaborating.

In a statement, B’nai Brith Canada said it had contacted the Prince Rupert Port Authority “to stress the importance of keeping the port open to Israeli shipping.” According to a ship tracking website, the Volans is now en route to Shanghai.

Protesters prevented the Volans from docking in Oakland, Calif., earlier this month. ILWU members there also refused to cross a picket line set up by the “Block the Boat” campaign.

An earlier effort to prevent a vessel from docking in Vancouver failed.

On June 8, police formed a barricade at the entrance to a bridge to Vancouver’s port to prevent access to about 100 protesters who tried to stop the ship Northern Julie from docking. The container ship also carried cargo for ZIM.

The vessel unloaded its cargo and continued to China as scheduled.

“Law enforcement and officials at all levels of government have an ongoing responsibility to ensure that Canada’s ports are not crippled by anti-Semitic boycotts,” said B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn.

Attempts to block Israeli shipping to Canada are “deplorable, illegal, and a cynical attempt to boycott Jewish businesses,” according to a statement from Nico Slobinsky of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).

CIJA said that over the last few weeks, it has been in touch with law enforcement, port authorities, and officials “at all levels of government who are responsible for ensuring that international trade and activity at Canada’s ports are not halted by activists animated by a cause that is tainted with anti-Semitism. We are pleased that (officials) listened to and agreed with our concerns.”

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