Ashkelon Oil Port Re-opened As 20 Day Strike Ends

The Ashkelon oil port was re-opened this morning ending a 20 day strike by employes of the Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline company’s marine division that cost the government an estimated IL 12 million in waiting fees alone for tankers that were prevented from loading oil. Thirteen of the strikers, who had spent the past week in commandeered company boats outside Ashkelon harbor, came ashore last night and gave themselves up to police. The men who face charges of illegal use of company property and trespassing, were released on bail.

The strike began after the company engaged an outside contractor to moor and service tankers in the Ashkelon oil port and dismissed several marine division employes and transferred others. Strikers took over company motorboats and forcible prevented the contractor’s crews from approaching the tankers. Their action at one point precipitated a clash with police escort boats, several of which were rammed by the strikers’ boats. The pipeline company announced last week that it was shutting down operations for the duration of the walkout. The strikers remained in the boats, receiving supplies from fellow-strikers ashore until last night when choppy seas forced them to abandon their blockade.

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