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Italian unions refuse to load Saudi ship carrying weapons to Yemen

PortandTerminal.com, May 21, 2019

Italian unions refused on Monday to load cargo onto a Saudi Arabian ship that also had weapons on board in a protest against the war in Yemen.

GENOA, Italy – Italian unions refused on Monday to load cargo onto a Saudi ship carrying weapons, to show their opposition to Riyadh’s ongoing war with Yemen. The dock workers went on strike, refusing to work until the Saudi vessel the Bahri-Yanbu left port in Genoa.

What happened?

Unions in Genoa, in northern Italy had at first tried to prevent the boat from docking at all. Despite their efforts, the ship docked early Monday morning and was met by a small group of protesters on the quay.

“We will not be complicit in what is happening in Yemen” declared union leaders

The Bahri-Yanbu vessel loaded arms in the Belgian city of Antwerp earlier in May but was stopped from picking up another consignment of weapons in the French port of Le Havre following protests by humanitarian groups (see article at bottom of page).

After unsuccessful attempts to have the ship barred from docking in Italy altogether, it was greeted by banners and protests as it arrived in port Monday.

The conflict in Yemen

Photo: Her bruised eyes still swollen shut, Buthaina Muhammad Mansour, believed to be four or five, doesn’t yet know that her parents, five siblings and uncle were killed when an air strike flattened their home in Yemen’s capital.

The four-year conflict in Yemen has devastated the country, leaving much of the population on the brink of famine. UN relief chief Mark Lowcock has said that approximately 360,000 children in Yemen are suffering severe acute malnutrition.

The vessel was expected to leave Genoa for Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia, later in the day.

In spite of much secrecy masking the extent of the West’s involvement in the Yemen war, arms from the U.S, UK, Finland, Belgium, France, and others have reportedly been used in the conflict.

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