Aftenposten: Bergen shipowner blasted for trade with Western Sahara
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.
Published: 18.09 - 2007 14:18Printer version    
Aftenposten,
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

    


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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.
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