Despite protests, the New Zealand fertilizer companies Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-Nutrients keep up their unethical imports of phosphates from occupied Western Sahara. Ballance received a shipment last month, while Ravensdown is expecting its next cargo mid-July.
The Greek vessel Oxygen is scheduled to arrive at the Port of Lyttleton in Christchurch on 11 July 2009 at Cashin Quay 2. The vessel is loaded with phosphates from occupied Western Sahara.
Update: 'Oxygen' is reported to stop over in Fremantle, Australia, on 2 July 2009, on her way to New Zealand. The trade is taking place in violation of international law, and despite of repeated protests from Western Sahara Resource Watch.
Oxygen is scheduled to continue 12 July 2009 towards Napier, and then arrive at Ravensdown's berth on 16 July 2009 in Port Otago (Dunedin), where she will stay until 18 July 2009.
The vessel collected its cargo in El Aaiun, Western Sahara, on 1 June 2009. The phosphates in occupied Western Sahara is mined by a Moroccan state company, and in the disregard of the wishes of the local people, despite the fact that Morocco has no right to exploit the natural resources in the neighbouring territory which it illegally occupied in 1975.
This is the second shipment to New Zealand in a short time. On 24 May 2009 another vessel, Courageous, arrived Port of Tauranga from El Aaiun, where she discharged phosphates for Ballance Agri-Nutrients. She continued towards new Plymouth on 28 May.
Courageous stayed in New Plymouth for 21 hours during the 30 May 2009, before ending its New Zealand journey in Port of Bluff. She reached New Zealand after passing through the Panama Canal end April/early May.
Both Oxygen (IMO number 5447359) and Courageous (IMO number 9324617) have the capacity to carry approximately 50.000 tonnes of phosphate rock each. Oxygen sails under Greek flag, and is owned by Greek firm Vita Beta Navigation ENE. Courageous is owned by Maltese firm Starlight Navigation, and seems to be managed by Orion Bulkers, Germany. Agent of Oxygen's arrival to Port of Lyttleton is Southern Maritime 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.
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