Trade union members in Australia have kept a Zim container ship out of the port of Melbourne in solidarity with Palestinians.

The Trade Unionists for Palestine (TUP) group said on Facebook that the 5,504-teu Zim Ganges (built 2023) has been kept at anchorage off the terminal.

The Portugal-flag vessel is owned by Germany’s MPC Capital but operated by Israeli line Zim.

“For the last four days unionists, activists and community members maintained a picket at Web Dock, Victoria International Terminal, at Port Melbourne, in direct protest of the lsraeli shipping company Zim, stopping all work on the Zim Ganges,” the group added.

Other groups including Free Palestine Melbourne and Disrupt Wars were also involved.

The TUP also condemned police violence it claimed had taken place throughout the protest, including the use of pepper spray on “people not posing a threat” and “crowd control that escalated the risk of harm, and excessive use of force”.

“Many dock workers were stood down without pay for refusing to work in unsafe conditions. The community has donated generously to cover the pay their bosses have docked from them. We thank them for their solidarity,” the group added.

The ship remained at anchor three days after it was meant to berth.

The group said: “Zim ships are not welcome in our ports.”

The liner company has been contacted for comment.

Last week, unknown pro-Palestinian activists set off a small bomb outside offices in Piraeus where Zim is located.

Two gas canisters were used in the pre-dawn blast which caused slight material damage to a wall and a fuse panel, according to a police source.

Apart from Zim, the office building also houses the Greek branch of maritime security firm Diaplous Group.

However, police sources said the attack most likely targeted Zim and that its perpetrators were motivated by Israel’s war against the Palestinian Hamas group in Gaza.

Protest leaflets were found at the entrance of the building reading “Freedom for Palestine”.