The vessel BBC Magellan (IMO 9569528), has undertaken salt transports from Western Sahara to Europe before. The photo above was taken at El Aaiun port on 4 February 2017, as it loaded a cargo of salt for France.
On 23 April 2017, the BBC Magellan - a cargo vessel sporting the Antigua Barbuda flag - arrived at the port of Dordrecht, the Netherlands, carrying a consignment of salt loaded in the port of El Aaiun, occupied Western Sahara. The vessel departed El Aaiun on 15 April, and has sailed straight to Dordrecht.
A source at the port of Dordrecht confirmed to WSRW that the salt is purchased by De Nederlandse Zoutbank (DNZB), a privately owned company specializing in storage of de-icing salt. DNZB is in turn supplying Dutch municipalities with the conflict salt. One of them is the municipality of De Ronde Venen, which holds a supply contract with DNBZ from 2016 to 2019.
Another cargo vessel is at present on its way to the port of Dordrecht, the Albiz, and in all likelihood carries another consignment of salt, for the same client. The vessel is currently off the coast of northwestern Spain, near Santiago de Compostela. It is expected to arrive in Dordrecht on 30 April.
Salt importers from Norway and Denmark have halted all further purchases from Western Sahara due to the highly problematic nature of such imports. The Danish importer halted after the affair had caused an outcry among Danish municipalities who purchased the salt.
BBC Magellan is 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 five 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.