Filming: Solidarity Group Western Sahara, Belgium Editing: Torgrim Ødegård
When the Novigrad arrived at the harbour of Ghent, it is probable that it contained around 25.000 tons of phosphates originating from the Bu Craa mines, that are located in the occupied territories of Western Sahara.
According to sources in Belgium the importer of the phosphates is BASF.
Today , the international price for phosphates is about 490 US $ per ton, which would mean that BASF should have paid 12.2 million US $ for the Saharan phosphates. This sum of money, however, will not have gone to the Sahrawi people nor the Saharan government, but will be transferred to the Moroccan state-owned phosphate company OCP (Office Chérifien des Phosphates). If our Belgian sources are right, it would mean that BASF has thus paid an occupying power for the illegal and unethical exploitation of non-renewable resources from an occupied territory.
Doing business with the Moroccan authorities regarding the natural resources of Western Sahara is highly unethical and politically controversial. Furthermore, the exploitation and trade of these resources constitutes a violation of international law, as is clearly stated in e.g. UN Legal Opinion S/2002/161 given to the Security Council.
The Belgian WSRW branch, Solidariteitsgroep Westelijke Sahara, has contacted BASF today, but the company was unable to confirm the alleged import and told us that any comment would have to be obtained from Germany.
The deadweight of the Croatian flagged Novigrad is 27.112 tons. It's IMO number is 9244037.
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.