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American Shipper

Olympia port nets $400,000 from protest-causing vessel call

Olympia port nets $400,000 from protest-causing vessel call

The Washington State Port of Olympia made a profit of $400,000 from a military shipment that sparked 11 days of anti-war protests and resulted in 61 arrests last year, according to port documents.

   The profits from the Nov. 5-16, 2007 visit of the Brittin to unload military equipment and cargo returning from Iraq accounted for nearly 40 percent of the 2007 revenue from the port's 60-acre marine terminal.

   The financial documents were obtained under public information requests by the Olympian newspaper.

   According to the documents, the port charged the U.S. Army and the shipping agent $934,000 in docking and wharfage fees for the visit by the 950-foot, roll-on/roll-off vessel, which is part of the Military Sealift Command. The port's marine terminal reported a profit of $209,000 last year on revenues of more than $2.3 million.

   Direct costs to the port for the Brittin's visit came to $458,391 and included labor, security, fuel, equipment, fees and staff overtime. The Army required the port to provide security for the ship during the call, which cost the port more than $70,000, compared to the $30,200 cost of the longshore labor required to unload the vessel.

   The financial documents show the port cleared nearly $475,000, but an outstanding request to the Army for a $70,000 reimbursement for security costs lowered the amount to $400,000.

   The Olympia Port Militarization Resistance organized the November protests, as well as an earlier protest in May 2006 when the ship loaded materiel on the way to Iraq. During the 11-day November incident, protestors threw rocks at military and police vehicles, threw trash and debris in the road out of the terminal, and formed human barricades to prevent the vehicles from unloading. During the protests, 61 people were arrested, five of them twice.

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