Louisiana company continues imports after ethical blacklisting
The Louisiana based fertilizer firm PCS, is starting to enter the spotlight of ethical investors in Europe. The firm is the leading importer of phosphate rock from occupied Western Sahara, in violation of international law. Despite the concerns, they have now received yet more shipments.
On 18 June 2010, PCS received yet another shipment of phosphates from Western Sahara. The vessel was, 'Great Wisdom', carries Hong Kong flag, and IMO number 9213545. Great Wisdom is operated by Parakol Shipping, and owned by Great Wisdom Shipping.
This is the second shipment in only three weeks. On 31st May 2010, a similar cargo with phosphate rock came in a Singapore flagged bulk vessel, 'Cos Orchid'.
PCS is by far the largest importer of phosphate from Western Sahara. The trade is considered highly unethical, and European ethical investors have in 2010 started to blacklist the firm from their portfolios over ethical concerns.
Clarification to this article On 25 August 2010, 2 months after this article was published, Mosaic Co clarified to WSRW that ‘Cos Orchid’ did not contain rock from Western Sahara, but was empty upon arrival to the port. “Mosaic did not purchase or discharge any Western Sahara rock off the M/V Cos Orchid. […] Following her discharge in Louisiana, Mosaic chartered the vessel (M/V Cos Orchid) from Eitzen Bulk Carriers. The vessel did come to Tampa (empty) and loaded Mosaic DAP for shipment to India. This DAP was produced by Mosaic in Florida using 100% Florida phosphate rock. The ship arrived in Tampa on June 5 and sailed for India on June 12”, states the company to WSRW.
Mosaic has terminated imports from Western Sahara. See more here.'Cos Orchid' has 55.539 deadweight tonnes, meaning the vessel can potentially carry some 53.000 tonnes of phosphates from the territory. The vessel is owned by Chinese shipping company COSCO, and has IMO number 9308704
Interestingly, after leaving PCS Nitrogen's port in Louisiana, Cos Orchid continued to Tampa, Florida. There, the vessel remained from 8th till 10th of June, at Mosaic Fertilizer's Riverview Phosphate terminal, CSX Transportation, Rockport Terminal Dock.
This is the same place as the other US phosphate importer, Mosaic Co, previously has received its phosphates. It is not known whether 'Cos Orchid' in fact carried parts of the Western Sahara phosphate rock to Tampa, or if the entire cargo from Western Sahara was already discharged at PCS Nitrogen the week before.
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.