New Zealand remains one of the largest importers of phosphate rock from the occupied territory. Two vessels are now on their way to the Pacific country with rocks that fuel the conflict in Western Sahara.
Western Sahara is illegally occupied by Morocco, and importing such phosphates are clearly in violation of international law. The UN Legal Office. has issued a statement to the Security Council on mineral resources in Western Sahara. The Saharawi people, both the ones living as refugees, and the ones living under Moroccan occupation, object to the trade.
According to the website of Ports of Auckland (or download), the agent for the ship, as it arrives Northport (Bluff), is Wilhelmsen Ship Service from Norway. From what WSRW understands, that is not correct. Wilhelmsen Ship Service is, however, agent for the company that is loading a new cargo onto the vessel as it departs New Zealand.
Bulk Titan (IMO number 9425758) is said to have the following ownership structure: Group Owner: Okouchi Kaiun KK (Japan) Shipmanager: Alfa Ship Managers Pte Ltd (Singapore) Operator: Okouchi Kaiun KK (Japan) DOC Company: Alfa Ship Managers Pte Ltd (Singapore) Registered Owner: Batanagar Shipping Corp (Panama) Technical Manager: Alfa Ship Managers Pte Ltd (Singapore)
The arrival of the Conti Pyrit has been delayed for several weeks. Conti Pyrit was originally scheduled to arrive New Zealand 25 December 2012. The delay corresponds with an apparently very long stay in El Aaiun harbour. The vessel seems to have been off El Aaiun from November 11th to December 21st. The importing company in Lyttelton is Ravensdown.
Interestingly, from what WSRW understands, the Conti Pyrit is currently heading from Western Sahara towards São Paolo, Brazil, while the harbour registries in New Zealand tells the vessel is coming from El Aaiun. Logically, it would mean that the vessel either goes to São Paolo to not discharge, or that it discharges only parts of its cargo in Brazil, before continuing towards New Zealand with the rest. The vessel has deadweight tonnes of 56,956.
Conti Pyrit (IMO number 9452646) is apparently owned by Conti Holding GmbH & Co KG, managed by Conti Reederei Management GmbH and operated by Oldendorff Carriers GmbH & Co, all Germany companies.
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.