Members of parliaments in Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand and at home in Norway are not at all happy with shipowning firm Gearbulk. Aftenposten, 29 June 2007.
Aftenposten, 29 June 2007.
29 June 2007
The longtime Bergen firm, now registered in Britain, has been accused of exploiting the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara.
Seven Norwegian politicians from the Labour, Socialist Left, Center and Liberal parties are among those who have signed a letter urging Gearbulk to halt its transport of phosphate from Western Sahara.
The letter charges Gearbulk with cooperating with an illegal occupation force, and thereby increasing the risk of more armed conflict, destabilization and suffering in Western Sahara.
Gearbulk, owned by a branch of the Norwegian Jebsen family, has been defying government recommendations against trade with Western Sahara.
The Norwegian Foreign Ministry, however, can only ask companies to avoid doing business with such troubled countries, and can't impose sanctions.
Gearbulk's bulk vessel Bulk Saturn tied up at Tauranga, New Zealand earlier this week, to unload a cargo from Western Sahara, according to Norwatch.no.
Gearbulk chairman Kristian Jebsen claimed in a press release that the company operates within existing laws and regulations.
Aftenposten English Web Desk/NTB
"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.