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Bottling at the phosphate dock in El Aaiun

Bottling at the phosphate dock in El Aaiun

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11 October 2017

In a few days, at the beginning of October, more than 100,000 tons of Sahrawi phosphates will have been shipped away from the colonized territory. The phosphates were extracted and sold by the occupier, Morocco, for his own benefit. In September, the Ultra Dynamic and Ultra Crimson vessels had already carried away a similar quantity of Saharawi phosphates. A careful monitoring of information internationally available, as well as visual controls have enabled Equipe Media to draw up the following observations.

On October 3rd, 2017, the vessel “Glovis Madrid”. imo 9610999, Singapore Pavilion, came from Bremen arrived in El Aaiun.Its draught of water was 6.7 m and its maximum possible of 12.85 m, its dead weight 56 605 tons.

The bulk carrier loaded with phosphate was departed on the night of 5 to 6 in the direction of the Suez Canal, which it is estimated to reach the 15 of October next. Its draft was then 12.9m.

According to information that ÉquipeMédia has been able to find, the bulk carrier’s owner is PST Management of Singapore, and its manager Pacific International Lines of Singapore.

On the evening of 4 October, Panagiotis (formerly Maverick Gunner), Imo 9461063, flying the flagof Marshall Islands came from Hadera (Israel) arrived and anchored off the port of El Aaiun with a draft of 7m. Its deadweight is 80 717 tonnes. On his departure from El Aaiun on 8 October, loaded with phosphates, its draft was 11m. It headed for South West to New Orleans, United States.

In 2002, the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, the Legal Counsel, addressed to the President of the Security Council a legal opinion warning that “if further exploration and exploitation activities were to proceed in disregard of the interests and wishes of the people of Western Sahara, they would be in violation of the international law principles applicable to mineral resource activities in Non-Self-Governing Territories”.

In December 2016 the final judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union, reminded us a fact that seemed forgotten. The liberalisation agreement between Morocco and the European Union is not applicable to Western Sahara as it is a Non-Self-GoverningTerritory with the right to self-determination, a territory with a distinct and separate status, and given the principle of the relative effect of treaties, treaties do not impose any obligations, or confer any rights, on third States without their consent. This considerations are applicable to any purchase to Morocco of products of Western Sahara.

Only the agreement of the Saharawi authorities, the Polisario, makes possible exploration or exploitation of its resources. That is, companies that operate or use phosphates can now be sued in the courts.

Earlier this year, a boat loaded with 55,000 tons of phosphate ore from Western Sahara were retained by the South African justice after an alert of the illegal nature of its cargo. The procedure was deemed admissible and trial was legitimate.The OCP, Moroccan operator of the Saharawi phosphates, decided to abandon its defense of the cargo, probably struggling to find arguments justifying its plunder.

Last June, WSRW, an international observatory of resources in Western Sahara, published a report containing all the ships that loaded and carried Saharawi phosphate from El Aaiun in the period between January 1st 2016 to June 9th 2017.

There is also an estimate of the quantities transported, as well as the administrative information. (Http://www.wsrw.org/a111x3929).

At the time of publication of this article, SBI Tango, Imo 9714707, flying the Marshal’s Islands flag, deadweight of 61,192 t, was moored at the phosphate loading dock in El Aaiun. If it also loads more than 50,000 t, it will make more than 150,000 tons of phosphate shipped from the port of El Aaiun in one week.

The high military and police surveillance of the port of El Aaiun by Morocco makes it difficult for journalists, who do not have permission to access there to photograph or to investigate.

Équipe Média

El Aaiun, Occupied Western Sahara

October 11, 2017.

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