Video: Pro-Palestinian Protestors Block Zim Ship with Kayaks in Australia

kayaks block containership
Kayaks blocked the path of the Zim-chartered containership Vela arriving in Melbourne (WACA on X)

Published Dec 21, 2023 12:25 PM by The Maritime Executive


A group of pro-Palestine protestors took to the waters in kayaks on Thursday, December 21, targeting another Zim containership as it was arriving at the port of Melbourne in Australia. The same group has been disrupting port activities since November claiming that they were interrupting shipments heading to Israel.

Today’s protest saw a small group in kayaks attempting to block the path of the Vela, a 50,420 dwt containership registered in Libera, as it was navigating along the along the Yarra River to the container terminal. The vessel, which has a capacity of 4,254 TEU and is owned by Costamare of Greece, was arriving from Syndey, Australia. 

While the protestors claim to be interrupting shipments of war supplies to Israel, the vessel is deployed on Zim’s Australia Express service running between Korea, China, and Australia. A spokesperson told the Daily Mail Australia the vessel is carrying “consumer products like white goods, textiles, and food stuffs,” and does not carry arms shipments. 

The group claimed that they were able to briefly interrupt port operations again today with their protest on the water and others along the riverbank with signs. They admitted after about an hour the ship was able to dock and the port resumed operations.





The protestors, however, have been regularly targeting Zim’s ships since October. Other demonstrations in Australia included jet skis and have ranged from Melbourne to Sydney and Port Botany. On December 7, the protestors blocked Port Melbourne for nearly two hours as another Zim ship was arriving on the weekly runs. Eventually, a tug was used to disperse the kayaks and help the containership reach the dock.

The protests have not been limited to just ships from Zim. On Monday evening, the same group again blocked the roads into the port attempting to delay an MSC containership. The 108,800 dwt MSC Justice VII was arriving from Europe on a route that takes it through Mauritius and Reunion to Australia and returning via Singapore and India. The protestors claimed the vessel was carrying containers bound for Israel.

They also reported earlier in the week that they had been successful in disrupting the schedule of another Zim containership. The Zim Sparrow (62,890 dwt) delayed its arrival in Melbourne from Brisbane. The ship’s AIS signal shows it is currently heading to Melbourne.

The protestors blocked a six-lane highway on Monday morning leading to the port causing traffic jams around the city. The police said about 40 people had blocked the roads for up to four hours with some of the individuals gluing their hands to the payment. Others locked themselves in cars or chained themselves to concrete barriers. Nine people were arrested and charged with being a public nuisance and obstructing a roadway.