On July 16th, a Greek vessel called Heron arrived Florida, USA, with phosphate rock from occupied Western Sahara. The trade is in violation of international law.
The vessel discharged its cargo on berth number 6, on the top left corner of the above photo of Manatee County Port Authority, Tampa. A railroad ends at that berth, on which the phosphate rock was probably transported to Mosaic's nearby fertilizer plants a few kilometers away.
Trading with phosphates from occupied Western Sahara is in violation of international law, ref. the 2002 legal opinion by the UN Under-secretary General for Legal Affairs. The Sahrawi people, indigenous to Western Sahara, opposes the trade, while struggling for the liberation of their country from Moroccan rule. The Sahrawis' right to self-determination and independence has been supported by more then 100 UN resolutions, and by the International Court of Justice.
The Greek flagged bulk carrier, which has IMO number 8316297 and call sign SVOA is operated and owned by the Greek company Heron Maritime S.A. The responsible agent in the Tampa harbour is Nova International Services.
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.