Once more, it is revealed that the Norwegian owned but UK- based company Gearbulk is assisting the Moroccan occupying power in exporting phosphates from Western Sahara. One of their bulk transport vessels arrives New Zealand on September 9th. -This is war profiteering, says the Association of Sahrawis in Norway in a press release today.
Press release from the Association of Sahrawis in Norway
September 4, 2007
"Gearbulk must stop the plundering of our country immediately", says the president of the Association of Sahrawis in Norway, Sidahmed Salem. Kristian Jebsen.
"The Norwegian majority owner, has a special responsibility to ensure this", says Mr. Salem.
The story on the Gearbulk shipment to New Zealand was covered on major Norwegian broadcaster TV2 yesterday, Monday. These shipments are in violation of the policy of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and clearly contrary to the wishes of the people in the occupied country.
"Every single day, our friends and members of our families are subjected to serious human rights violations from the Moroccan forces in Western Sahara. Gearbulk's managemenmt and owners must try to understand what this conflict is all about, and realise that they are partly responsible for the human rights violations in occupied Western Sahara", says Salem.
"As long as Morocco make money on the occupation of Western Sahara, and as long as Norwegian companies cooperate with the occupiers in this way, the oppression of the Sahrawis will go on", says Salem.
The profitable phospahte industry in Western Sahara is controlled by a Moroccan governmental phosphate company, OCP. The phosphate deposits in the country was one of the reasons that Western Sahara was occupied in 1975, and still gives Morocco huge revenue. The exploitation is in violation of international law, and contributes to finance the costly occupation.
The vessel arriving now is called 'Bulk Jupiter'. Gearbulk's vessels 'Bulk Saturn' and 'Bulk Sirius' have already done similar shipments to New Zealand.
"Gearbulk are war profiteers, period. They make money on the oppression of our people. Was it not seen as war profiteering when companies cooperated with those who occupied Norway decades ago? It is unfair that the Jebsen family should make money on the misery of our people", says Salem.
The Association of Sahrawis in Norway is an organisation for Sahrawi refugees in Norway. The Association was created in May this year, and works to spread information about the occupation.
The shipping company Gearbulk is 60% owned by the Norway based family Jebsen. The company has its main office in London, and is registered in Bermuda. The last time Gearbulk sent a vessel to New Zealand was June this year. At the time, parliamentarians from four countries protested the trade in a letter to Gearbulk and Jebsen.
For comments from the Association of Sahrawis in Norway, please contact president Sidahmed Salem on tel (+47) 41669944.
For more information about the Gearbulk shipment, please see www.vest-sahara.no, or contact the chairman of the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara, Ronny Hansen, tel (+47) 94250270.
"It is surprising that mainly Bergen-owned Gearbulk sails for the occupying power Morocco". Read here editorial in one of Norway's biggest newspapers, Bergens Tidende, 29th of June 2008.
Read more about Gearbulk's involvement in Western Sahara, and the vessel Simge Aksoy here. As of June 2008, the vessel can have transported phosphates from Western Sahara for more than 200,000 million US dollars.