Freeport re-opens under police guard

Freeport re-opens under police guard

Freeport Container Port in the Bahamas resumed operations Monday with local police guarding the entrance to the key Caribbean transshipment hub, the Nassau Guardian reported.

The port was closed for five days after employees walked off their jobs June 23 to protest the dismissal of a co-worker.

Operator Hutchison Port Holdings told employees it was considering ceasing operations permanently, which would have cost millions in lost revenue for the Bahamanian economy and required a major shift in operations for Mediterranean Shipping Co. and Maersk Sealand, the port's largest clients.

According to MSC Senior Vice President, John Mullaney, the protest caused only a few changes in schedule for the container line.

"They handled it quickly and we are satisfied that everything is back to normal again," he said. "We have resumed our normal calls to Freeport."

Published reports said Prime Minister Perry Christie persuaded Hutchison to keep the transshipment hub open, at least for the time being.

However, the container port has fired all of the employees who walked off their jobs, according to the Guardian.

The newspaper said that employees began reporting to work around 7:45 a.m. Monday, signifying the reopening of port. Meanwhile terminated employees spent the day at Worker's House hoping to meet with Christie.