On 11 February 2017, a cargo of salt is to arrive the city of Rouen, France. The salt was observed loaded onto the vessel BBC Magellan in the port of El Aaiun, occupied Western Sahara, on 4 February. The photo above was taken as the loading took place.
This is the second transport of goods from Western Sahara into the European Union this year, and for the second time, the goods end up in Normandy, France. In January, the company Olvea took in a large quantity of fish oil from the occupied territory into Fécamp, Normandy.
It is not known whom the client of salt consignment is. In other countries in Europe, de-icing salt is normally used by the municipalities or the state for spreading on slippery winter roads. The imports are often done by either a private or a public owned importing company.
Even though it is clear that the vessel loaded the salt cargo at the harbour of El Aaiun in occupied Western Sahara, it is not known exactly where the salt itself was produced. Either it is from the production site at Oum Dbaa in occupied Western Sahara, or from Akfhennir in very south of Morocco. From what WSRW understands, the latter site has used El Aaiun harbour as port of exports in the past.
The vessel is called BBC Magellan (IMO 9569528), sailing under a Antigua & Bermuda flag, operated by the German shipping company BBC Chartering.
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the three different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.