Norwegian company GC Rieber was the leading importer of fish oil from Western Sahara for a decade. The trade stopped in 2010, as the magnitude of the unethical imports was revealed in Scandinavian media. After their biggest client Ewos no longer wanted to buy the controversial oil, GC Rieber announced on 14 April 2010 that they have stopped all imports of fish oil from Morocco and occupied Western Sahara.
GC Rieber has to pay giant fee for avoiding excise upon declaring goods from Western Sahara as Moroccan. The amount that the firm failed to pay in customs might arise up to 100 million Euros. The preferential treatment under the Moroccan-EFTA agreement cannot be granted to goods from Western Sahara, Norwegian government says. The EFTA free trade agreement with Morocco does not cover Western Sahara.
This London-based company has a long-term involvement in the transportation of phosphates originating from occupied Western Sahara to the New Zealand phosphate importer Ballance Agri-Nutrients. Gearbulk is 60% owned by the Norwegian Jebsen family and 40% by a Japanese company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines. Chairman is the Norwegian Mr. Kristian Jebsen.
Already in 2002, there were close connections between Ballance Agri-Nutrients and Gearbulk. It is probable that their agreement with importers in New Zealand involves an annual two cargos.
The following vessels have been identified as of June 2006: * June 2008: Simge Aksoy This vessel, owned by Turkish Akmar Shipping & Trading SA, was chartered by Gearbulk.
* September 2007: 'Bulk Jupiter' http://www.norwatch.no/index.php?artikkelid=1635&back=1
* June 2007: 'Bulk Saturn' http://www.dagbladet.no/nyheter/2007/06/28/504853.html
* July 2006: 'Bulk Sirius'
Read more: Parliamentarians protest Gearbulk shipment About the Gearbulk shipments and the 'Simge Aksoy' bulk vessel
This Norwegian ship owner company is a daughter company of Seven Seas Carriers. One of its vessels was spotted transporting 15.000 tonnes of phosphates from occupied Western Sahara to Colombia in April 2008. After coordinated protest between WSRW, the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara and the Norwegian Trade & Energy, R-Bulk formally apologized in the Norwegian media, stating it will do the utmost to prevent further shipments from Western Sahara.
Read more: Norwegian shipping company transported phosphates to Colombia Will R-Bulk's partner follow?
Another Norwegian ship owner company implicated in the illegal phosphate trade from occupied Western Sahara. Arnesen Shipbrokers from the city of Farsund announced to refrain from further imports in November 2007.
In August 2008, it was discovered that the Norwegian fertilizer producer Yara International had imported phosphates from occupied Western Sahara, despite previous promises that they would never again carry out such imports. Yara had over the previous 3 years followed the recommendations from the Norwegian government, which urges Norwegian companies to neither trade with nor invest in Western Sahara until the dispute over the territory is settled.
Few days after the revelation was made, the Association of Sahrawis in Norway, together with the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara reported Yara to the police.
Read more: Yara under police investigation for Western Sahara shipments
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.