A group of pro-Palestinian activists on Monday blocked the entrance to the Port of Tacoma to protest the alleged transportation of U.S. military aid to Israel on a ship owned by the U.S. Maritime Administration.
The protest comes after a smaller group of activists on Friday managed to access a pier near Oakland, California, where the roll-on/roll-off ship Cape Orlando was moored. The protestors tampered with mooring lines and climbed on the ship’s ladder, delaying its departure by several hours.
Hundreds of demonstrators arrived at the Port of Tacoma early Monday morning, where the Cape Orlando is now docked, to continue to the protest.
“Confidential sources say that the vessel will be loaded with weapons and military equipment in Tacoma, with a final destination in Israel,” the pro-Palestinian activist group Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC) said in a statement. The group has urged its followers to join them in “blocking the boat.”
The Tacoma Police Department said has deployed officers to ensure the safety of all community members and assist with directing traffic.
The protest continued as of Monday afternoon with demonstrators on foot and in vehicles blocking entrances to the port. There are even reports of demonstrators on the water in kayaks. Photos shared online show a Coast Guard cutter and boat crew nearby.
AIS from MarineTraffic shows the two tugs, Athena and Guardia, on either side of the ship.
The MV Cape Orlando, stationed in Alameda, California, is a roll-on/roll-off ship belonging to the Maritime Administration’s Ready Reserve Force (RRF). The RRF, a subset of vessels within the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF), supports the rapid deployment of U.S. military forces worldwide. It primarily facilitates the transportation of Army and Marine Corps unit equipment, combat support equipment, and initial resupply during surge periods.
The U.S. Department of Defense says it does not provide any details about the cargo embarked on RRF vessels.
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