ISRAELI container line Zim has again become the target of protests at Australian ports.

On Sunday night (24 March) pro-Palestine demonstrators gathered at Patrick’s Port Botany terminal to protest the arrival of Ganges.

There was a similar scene at the port of Melbourne on Friday evening (22 March) as protesters disrupted operations at Victoria International Container Terminal, according to the Container Transport Alliance Australia. Ganges departed Melbourne that night, bound for Sydney.

NSW Police said officers responded to an unauthorised protest at Port Botany at 1850 on Sunday night. At about 2130 the group moved to Penhryn Road, blocking the roadway and access to the port.

“The crowd was directed to move from the roadway, and given some time to do so,” NSW Police said in a statement.

They said a number of those in the group did not comply and were arrested for disobeying police directions.

“In total, 19 people were arrested and taken to Surry Hills Police Station.”

Maritime Union of Australia branch secretary Paul Keating was among those arrested, according to Trade Unionists for Palestine and news outlets citing NSW Police.

MUA flags appear in several photos taken at the protest, and Trade Unionists for Palestine claims other union delegates were also arrested.

“We stand with our Maritime Union of Australia – Sydney Branch comrades and our right to protest Zim and all Israeli ships in our ports,” the group wrote in a social media post.

NSW Police said the 19 people arrested were charged in relation to obstructing a driver’s or other pedestrian’s path, failing to comply with a move-along direction, and remaining near or on a major facility causing serious disruption.

They were also issued with a field court attendance notice to appear before Downing Centre Local Court on 8 May 2024.

“The remainder were removed from the roadway,” NSW Police said. “A small group gathered in a nearby park before departing.”

According to a notice circulated by the Freight & Trade Alliance, NSW Ports reported incoming night shift labour on Sunday 24 March was delayed by about 30 minutes at Patrick Terminal, and 2200 and 2300 time zones were cancelled.

“There were no other operational impacts to the rest of the port,” the notice said. “NSW Police did a fantastic job in managing the protesters quickly and effectively.”

And CTAA director Neil Chambers said people have the right to engage in peaceful protests, but “there is a countervailing right not to impede the rights of other people, such as the right to the freedom of movement”.

“The protestors seemingly have no regard for the impact that their actions have on law-abiding container logistics workers who are just trying to go about their business of maintaining vital supply chain services to keep every Australian’s way of life sustained,” he said.

MUA has been contacted for comment.