[News] Israel-linked cargo ship sailing into Tunisian storm
news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Aug 7 11:34:17 EDT 2018
Israel-linked cargo ship sailing into Tunisian storm
Ali Abunimah <https://electronicintifada.net/people/ali-abunimah> - 6
Trade union leaders in Tunisia are calling on their members not to
unload an Israel-linked cargo ship if it lands at the port of Radès in
According to tracking data
<https://www.vesselfinder.com/fr/?imo=8912455>, /Cornelius A/ left the
Spanish port of Algeciras on Sunday night headed towards Radès, where it
is predicted to arrive on 9 August.
But over the weekend, there were indications that the journey had been
canceled, prompting Palestine solidarity activists to celebrate a victory.
Last week, activists and Tunisia’s UGTT trade union federation demanded
that Tunisian authorities prevent the /Cornelius A/ from entering the
country’s waters because the ship, owned by the Turkish company Arkas,
appeared to be operated on behalf of the Israeli shipping line Zim.
The vessel has apparently been plying the Mediterranean as part of a
network <http://tacbi.org/node/41> that offers cargo shipping between
Haifa, a port in present-day Israel, and Tunisia’s Radès, via Spanish ports.
Activists see Zim’s use of a Turkish-flagged vessel as an attempt at
covert normalization between Israel and Tunisia, which have no formal
Last week, the Tunisian port authority OMMP and the Turkish embassy in
any Israeli connection to the /Cornelius A/, but this failed to convince
On Friday, three major Palestinian trade union federations wrote
to UGTT secretary-general Nourredine Taboubi urging the Tunisian labor
organization to mobilize all efforts to stop the /Cornelius A/ being
unloaded in Radès and to prevent normalization of ties with Israel more
The next day, Taboubi reaffirmed
that the UGTT would block any “Zionist entity that attempts to enter
On Sunday, TACBI, the Tunisian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural
Boycott of Israel, declared a victory <http://tacbi.org/node/43> when
/Cornelius A/ appeared to stop at sea, and references to the ship’s
planned arrival in Tunisia disappeared from the internet.
The Tunisian port authority OMMP removed the announcement for a
scheduled stop by /Cornelius A/ from its official website
The Israeli shipping company Zim has also deleted from its website
to the /Cornelius A/ operating a service to Radès on its behalf.
Yet as the ship appears once again to be sailing towards Tunisia, trade
union leaders are escalating their calls on the government to stop it.
On Monday, the UGTT demanded
that the government and port authorities reveal all the facts about the
ship and called for a parliamentary inquiry into Zim’s covert dealings
The labor federation urged its member unions and port workers to
mobilize in order to “prevent this ship from sullying Tunisian territory.”
The UGTT also called on Turkey to investigate the ship’s connections
with Israel that had been previously denied by its ambassador, and not
to invoke Turkey’s warm relations with Tunisia as a cover to fend off
criticism and concern.
UGTT said that its “rejection of the entry of this ship to our ports is
a national stance taken only by those who are most vigilant for
Palestine, our central cause.”
It demanded that the Turkish line Arkas that owns the /Cornelius A/
abide by Tunisian law and refrain from any activity that “harms
Tunisia’s sovereignty and interests or negates its principled position
that Tunisia has no economic or diplomatic ties with the Zionist entity.”
The UGTT also wants the government to compile a list of foreign-owned
vessels that are used by Israeli companies in order to ban them from
entering Tunisian ports or surreptitiously delivering Israeli cargo to
Second flotilla boat commandeered
In 2014, US activists and labor organizers spurred by Israel’s military
attack on Gaza successfully prevented
Zim ships from unloading at the port of Oakland.
Now, Tunisian activists say that it is especially unacceptable for an
Israeli-linked ship to land in Tunisia while Israel maintains a maritime
blockade on the occupied Gaza Strip.
On 29 July, Israeli military forces stormed and commandeered
the /Al Awda/, one of two boats carrying activists, journalists and
medical supplies in an attempt to break the siege of Gaza.
SOS – John Turnbull (Canada), Captain of ‘Freedom’ has been captured
in international waters and taken to Israel against his will. Please
take action now including sharing his SOS Video:
— Freedom Flotilla (@GazaFFlotilla) August 6, 2018
On Saturday, flotilla organizers said
they had lost contact with /Freedom/, the second boat attempting to
“We have reason to presume that the Israeli occupation forces have now
begun to attack it and that it has been surrounded in international
waters,” the Freedom Flotilla Coalition said. “The latest reported
position was approximately 40 nautical miles from the coast of Gaza.”
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