"The sand that is being used on Madeira is coming from North Africa, from the zone of Western Sahara", explained a local Madeira official to the Portuguese news service Lusa. The beach was being made by "half a dozen ships of different size".
This is the second artificial beach on Madeira, after the initial 2004 Calheta beach, which has been labeled "a success" by the local authorities. WSRW wrote about Calheta beach earlier this year.
22.000 tonnes of sand were supposedly used for the contruction of the new beach in Machico county. The new 125 meter long, 70 meter wide beach was inaugurated on the 29th of September 2008.
As far as Western Sahara Resource Watch knows, representatives of the Sahrawi people have not been consulted in the process of the sand purchase. Therefore, the Portuguese imports are probably in violation of international law.
Machico recebeu 4.500 toneladas de areia amarela transportada desde Marrocos
Encontra-se atracado no porto do Caniçal o navio de carga geral 'Aastun'. Com procedência do porto de Laayoune, este transporta nos seus porões cerca de 4.500 toneladas de areia amarela, a qual tem como finalidade criar uma praia artificial de areia amarela em Machico.
A descarga da areia do porão do navio teve inicio na manhã de ontem e segundo conseguimos apurar implicará que os camiões envolvidos nesta operação realizem, no total, cerca de 155 viagens entre o Porto do Caniçal e a praia de Machico.
Com este transporte, o terceiro até ao momento, aquela praia já recebeu cerca de 12.400 toneladas de areia amarela, toda ela proveniente de Marrocos, sendo de salientar que para o final desta semana está prevista a vinda de mais um navio com cerca de 3.250 toneladas de areia. Dessa forma, aquela praia irá receber no total 16.000 toneladas de areia, toda ela proveniente de Marrocos.
Sobre o 'Aastun' refira-se que o mesmo foi construído nos estaleiros dinamarqueses 'Svendborg', no ano de 1975. Das suas principais características salientamos os 94,21 metros de comprimento, 15,40 metros de boca (largura) e um calado de 6,55 metros, com uma arqueação bruta de 3.136 toneladas. De casco único, o navio está registado no Panamá e pertence à Arabella Enterprise, com sede em Las Palmas, Canárias.
Depois de concluir as operações de descarga, o navio zarpa com destino a alto mar, sendo que o seu agenciamento para a madeira está a cargo do agente Via Oceano, Lda.
Blog: Madeira4u Text and photo (right) Moored in the port at Caniçal is the ship 'Aastun' with it's precious cargo of yellow Moroccan sand. The 4,500 tons are waiting to go to Machico beach in 155 lorry journeys. 12,400 tons have already been delivered here, and another 3,250 tons are almost on their way in the final delivery (16,000 tons in all). Anyone living near a beach not far from Machico must be eagerly awaiting the winter storms as nature prepares to share out the sandy booty of Machico.
Also the vessel 'Hannes' took part in the construction of the beach, with a shipment in September.
Photos below are from the homepages of Machico county, Madeira
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 five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
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