Norwatch: Ministry took the hint – publicizes discouragement
bulk_jupiter3_610.jpg

Wednesday afternoon, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign affairs publicized on their webpages an announcement that they discourage Norwegian businesses from operating in Western Sahara. The statement was made at the same time as another Norwegian vessel was discovered transporting phosphates to New Zealand. See Norwatch films of the Norwegian phosphate exports, taken in New Zealand Wednesday.
Published: 18.09 - 2007 16:46Printer version    
By Erik Hagen
Norwatch, 12 Sept 2007

”I have now been looking at the homepages of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign affairs to find anything about the Western Sahara discouragement, but cannot find anything”, said a Norwegian shipping operator in June when Norwatch caught his company in the act this year. His company was at the time transporting frozen fish from the Moroccan occupied Western Sahara to Turkey.

Norwatch wrote in June that the Norwegian government’s advice to refain from business activities in Western Sahara were not published anywhere on their homepages. Therefore, there has been some confusion as to what the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affair has really meant about the issue. The Ministry, however, took the hint, and on September 12th, the Ministry published their Western Sahara statement on their homepages.

The statement comes at the same time as the shipping company Gearbulk (partly owned by the Norwegian Jebsen family), continues its shipments of phosphate to New Zealand. Wednesday September 12th, the vessel ‘Bulk Jupiter” arrived the New Zealand harbour of Tauranga with phosphate from the occupied country. Norwatch has received film and photo material of the boat sailing in to and discharging in Tauranga. The video clips below were taken Wednesday afternoon Norwegian time. The vessel started directly to offload the phosphates, for a local fertilizer producer onshore.

This is the fourth time during the last year and a half that Gearbulk transports phosphates from Western Sahara to New Zealand. Two of Gearbulk’s other vessels, ‘Bulk Saturn’ and ‘Bulk Sirius’, have already carried out similar shipments. From what Norwatch can establish, the total cargo of the four shipments, has reached somewhere around 130.000 tonnes of phosphates.

”As an international company, it is not natural for us to consult Norwegian authorities on questions relating to affairs outside of Norway. Even though trade with the Moroccan occupying power in Western Sahara is not recommendable, it is not illegal either”, said the Gearbulk president, Kristian Jebsen, to Norwegian broadcaster TV2 last week.

At that time, the boat was still on its way to the Pacific nation.

More rigorous
When Gearbulk made another shipment in June, the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association contacted the government for advice. In the reply letter, which Norwatch has seen, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that they have recently implemented a more rigorous on the Western Sahara issue. The change was decided in October last year, when they went from “not advising” to “discouraging” the controversial trade.

”Norway sees it as important to refrain from actions that can be seen as a legitimization of the situation in Western Sahara. In order to prevent trade, investments, resource exploitation and other forms of business that are not in accordance with the local population’s interests and accordingly can be in violation of international law, the Norwegian authorities discourage such activities”, the Ministry announced on its homepages Wednesday.


Video clips of ‘Bulk Jupiter’ sailing in to Port of Tauranga, New Zealand:
Video 1: "Here we are at the Mount Mauganui, New Zealand, and here is the 'Bulk Jupiter'. A Gearbulk ship, as you can see there on the chimney. It is discharging illegally gained phosphate rock here at this large port complex. There is another vessel, just at the side here. And there is a view of our wonderful mountain Mount Maunganui..."

Video 2: "Here we have the 'Bulk Jupiter' discharging illegally gained phosphate from Western Sahara, it's Mount Maunganui, New Zealand."

Video 3: 'Bulk Jupiter'.

Video 4: 'Bulk Jupiter' sailing in to Port of Tauranga.

Film material belongs to www.norwatch.no.

[Translated from Norwegian by the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara]




    


EN ES FR DE AR

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.
Stand up for the Gdeim Izik 25!

tn_court_photo_gdeim_izik_610.jpg

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.
Support Western Sahara Resource Watch

tn_sjovik_demo_610.jpg

Help us to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara for the Saharawi people. Support our work by making a donation.
Report: Moroccan green energy used for plunder

tn_poweringplunder_eng_610.jpg

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.
The Western Sahara oil curse

tn_san_leon_protest_camps_8_august_2015_610x200.jpg

Big oil’s interest in occupied Western Sahara has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Some companies are now drilling, in complete disregard of international law and the Saharawi people’s rights. Here’s what you need to know.

WSRW.org News Archive 2017
WSRW.org News Archive 2016
WSRW.org News Archive 2015
WSRW.org News Archive 2014
WSRW.org News Archive 2013
WSRW.org News Archive 2012
WSRW.org News Archive 2011
WSRW.org News Archive 2010
WSRW.org News Archive 2009
WSRW.org News Archive 2008
WSRW.org News Archive 2007
WSRW.org News Archive 2004-2006


Register for our English newsletter:









These web pages have been built with the financial support of the trade union Industry Energy