Dock workers in Durban say they will prevent a ship, thought to have Israeli ties, from working cargo when she docks in port this week.
According to a statement issued by the trade union organization COSATU yesterday, members of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) will not offload a ship which they say is trading from Israel.
The vessel, which is believed to be the feeder container ship JOHANNA RUSS (9,956-gt, built 2006) is scheduled to berth on Sunday, 8 February. Johanna Russ is registered to a German owner and is managed by German ship managers but is trading jointly with Zim, Laurel Navigation, Gold Star Line and Sea Consortium on the East African feeder service between Durban and Djibouti.
The COSATU statement described the pledge by SATAWU members in Durban as “reflecting the commitment by South African workers to refuse to support oppression and exploitation across the globe” and refers directly to the situation in Gaza.
COSATU says the action will be a part of the “proud history of worker resistance against apartheid” and quotes several instances where trade unions elsewhere refused to offload a ship from South Africa during the anti-apartheid years. It also refers to the more recent example of Satawu refusing to offload a shipment of arms that arrived on a Chinese ship which were destined for Zimbabwe.
The trade union movement in South Africa is also planning a number of protests, marches and pickets elsewhere in the country to protest Israel’s action against Gaza