The Oleg Naydenov is a floating fish factory with a capacity of over 7,500 tonnes, owned by the Murmansk Trawl Fleet. The vessel has been active in Western Saharan waters for large periods of last year, under a four-year fisheries agreement between Russia and Morocco. But ever since the agreement was inked early 2013, all 10 Russian vessels allowed to operate under the deal have exclusively fished in the waters off Western Sahara, not Morocco.
Morocco invaded Western Sahara in 1975 and subsequently went on to occupy large areas of the territory, in blatant violation of international law.
As a result, the Russian trawlers were deployed elsewhere. And yet again, it seems that the Russians got the geography wrong.
The Oleg Naydenov was officially fishing in Guinea-Bissau, but was captured on Saturday 4 January by the Senegalese government, for fishing illegally in its waters.
Illegal fishing, mostly by trawlers from the former Soviet bloc, costs Senegal $250 million a year, according to official figures, states an article by Reuters.
The trawler has been impounded in the port of Dakar and will be heavily fined and its fishing material seized in conformity with Senegalese law, the Senegalese Minister for Fisheries told Reuters, adding that it was the third time this trawler had been fined.
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.