More Siemens elements heading to Western Sahara

WSRW has received images of equipment strapped into the hold of a ship that is en route from Bilbao to occupied Western Sahara. 

23 July 2021

Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) has received images of the equipment that was loaded into the hold of the cargo vessel Johannes, just prior to its departure from Bilbao, Spain, 21 July. The cargo is now on its way to Western Sahara where it will be erected as part of a large windmill project under a contract with the territory's occupying power, Morocco. 

The pictures show that at least two ‘floors’ in the hold are filled with around 20 large pieces, each the size of a car. The equipment consists of different key elements for the windmills. Johannes arrived to Bilbao on 18 July to load the cargo.  

From what WSRW understands, the vessel is now on its way to Tangiers in Morocco to load blades at the local Siemens Gamesa blade factory, before it is set to continue to El Aaiún in the occupied territory.

This is the third trip that Johannes is undertaking with components for the Siemens Energy/Enel wind farm over the course of the last month. In June/July 2021, the same vessel already undertook two transports carrying masts from Motril to El Aaiún. 

The controversial shipment coincides with two or three other related incidents, all onboard the same Dutch-flagged fleet of the German shipping company Briese Schiffahrts:

  • The cargo vessel Aramis is heading towards El Aaiún after picking up masts in Motril, southern Spain. This is the second trip of the Aramis of such cargo. WSRW already documented the vessel's first shipment on 8 July. Aramis departed late in the evening, 20 July, and is scheduled to arrive in El Aaiún on 24 July. The vessel's movements can be followed on Marinetraffic.
  • The cargo vessel Breb Countess arrived at the port of Dakhla on 5 July after having picked up its cargo in Iskenderun, Turkey. It has recently probably offloaded a part of the cargo during a stay at the Dakhla port, as its draught changed from 6,8 to 6,5 meters. The vessel is now waiting, anchored, right outside of the Dakhla peninsula.
  • WSRW is not yet certain as to whether there is a connection to Western Sahara, but the cargo vessel Treville (IMO 9815331) departed the port of Motril on 18 July, for direction of Iskenderun, Turkey. Both the port of Motril and Iskenderun have exported products for the Siemens Gamesa energy project during the last weeks.

In total, WSRW has now documented six shipments of windmill components arriving in the occupied territory since the end of June 2021. 

In September 2020, Siemens Gamesa announced it had received a massive new order covering the "supply, transport, installation, commissioning and testing of 87 units of the SG 3.4-132 wind turbine and a 5-year service agreement" for what the company refers to as "the Boujdour wind farm, located in the South of Morocco". 

Morocco has illegally occupied the larger part of Western Sahara since 1975, and installs energy infrastructure in the territory, in violation of international law.

Breb Countess (IMO 9421166) remains anchored right outside of Dakhla port as of 20 July 2021. 




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