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Port Workers Protest Against Blood Phosphate Ship

The Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) is calling attention to the importation of “blood phosphate” into New Zealand ports.

RMTU members will be handing a letter of protest to the captain of the ship Stony Stream when it arrives into Port of Napier, currently scheduled for Thursday 10 March.

The Stony Stream will discharging Blood Phosphate mined in the Western Sahara.

RMTU Organiser Dasha van Silfhout says the port workers are part of an ongoing international campaign to support the people of Western Sahara, which has included similar actions by port workers in Australia.

She says the Council of Trade Unions (CTU) passed a resolution in 2019 condemning Morocco’s illegal occupation of Western Sahara and calling upon the New Zealand government to halt importation of phosphates from the area.

The RMTU believes the New Zealand Government needs to step up and show its support for oppressed people, she says.

Because of COVID protocols the letter will be delivered without direct contact between RMTU members and the crew.

Ms van Silfhout says the ship is chartered by fertiliser company Ravensdown.

She says that there is an ongoing dialogue with Ravensdown, who have been reasonable in facilitating a lawful and safe protest, as have Napier Port management and the shipping agent.

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