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Ready Reserve military transport ship Cape Orlando

Army Reserve Soldiers with the 390th Seaport Operations Company roll a Humvee off the gangplank of the MV Cape Orlando . (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Sgt. Jeremiah Woods)

Activists Try To Block Military Transport Ship To Stop U.S. Aid to Israel

John Konrad
Total Views: 14267
November 4, 2023

Yesterday in Oakland, Pro-Palestinian protesters advocating for a cease-fire in Gaza illegally entered port facilities in an attempt to halt the U.S. military supply ship, M/V Cape Orlando. This vessel, owned by Secretary Pete’s Department of Transportation and manned by a U.S. Merchant Marine crew, was the target of protesters who locked themselves to the ship, causing a significant delay in its scheduled departure.

“Protesters assert that the vessel is bound for Tacoma to be outfitted with arms and munitions destined for Israel,” maritime historian Sal Mercogliano noted in a video on the incident. “However, the exact destination of the ship remains uncertain. It’s more likely its course is set towards Asia or the Middle East as part of a routine military exercise or the standard redeployment of forces.”

The demonstration, organized by the San Francisco-based Arab Resource Organizing Center, swelled to about 200 participants. The group claims it was a strategic move to block the ship from departing. After entering the port protesters brandished Palestinian flags and signs decrying U.S. military aid to Israel.

Demonstrators held large banners reading, “Biden, Pelosi: Don’t Aid and Abet War Crimes, Ceasefire!” and “No U.S. Military Aid to Israel.”

The demonstrations unfolded just a day following the House of Representatives decision to allocate $14.3 billion in federal assistance to Israel. The vote, which took place on Thursday, concluded with 226 in favor and 196 against, with a notable coalition of 12 Democrats siding with Republicans to secure its passage.

Despite the tension, the protest remained non-violent, but demonstrators did try to board the ship via a rope ladder and some wrapped themselves in the ship’s morning lines. According to a release from AROC, three protesters who climbed onto the vessel were detained by the U.S. Coast Guard. Federal officials have confirmed that multiple individuals are currently under investigation.

The MV Cape Orlando is a roll-on/roll-off vessel, that usually lies inactive within the US Ready Reserve Fleet’s extensive collection of ships.

The ship is currently underway to the Port of Tacoma. Protestors have shared material on social media suggesting they will try to stop the ship again when it reaches Tacoma on Sunday.

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