Tense Situation at Port of Haifa; Strikers Refuse to Leave Ship

The tense situation in the port of Haifa precipitated by the dispute between the Seamen’s Union and the Histadrut, continued today as sea men of the S.S. Artza were ordered by their union not to let volunteers recruited by the Histadrut aboard to man the ship. A speaker for the union warned at a mass meeting today that the striking seamen would use force to resist any attempt to land them against their will.

The Israeli vessel Negba arrived this afternoon here with 400 immigrants from North Africa and 120 other passengers. When the ship docked, the crew immediately went on strike. A detachment of police was sent aboard.

Police units yesterday forced all 60 striking members of the crew of the S. S. Galila to leave the vessel, after they refused to heed a police request that they disembark. Although no incidents were reported, several of the crew members were arrested. A report on the Galila incident was made to Premier David Ben Gurion.

The vessels Tzfonit, Hadar and Nachson are preparing to sail from Haifa with volunteer crews. The S.S. Acco, which left on Monday, has anchored at Valetta, Malta, and the crew has been changed, while the crew of the S.S. Eilath will be flown back to Israel from Trieste since the vessel has been laid up for repairs. It is understood that the crews of two more Israel vessels due within a few days–the S.S. Negev and the Tamar–will join the strike.

A call to foreign sailors not to aid volunteers who have been recruited by the Histadrut to replace the strikers was issued here today by the Seamen’s Union. The union also addressed a communication to the International Transport Workers Federation explaining its action.

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