Uruguay imported phosphate rock from Western Sahara

11 December 2009, a shipment of phosphate rock arrived Montevideo, Uruguay. This is the first known shipment to the South American country.
Published: 19.02 - 2010 13:46Printer version    
According to international shipping lists, Uruguay must have imported phosphate from occupied Western Sahara.

Such imports are in violation of international law, and contribute financially to the continued occupation of the territory. This has happened despite the fact that Uruguay traditionally has shown unconditional support for the Sahrawi people's struggle for self-determination.

The vessel, Federal Pioneer (IMO number 9190080), carries Cypriotic flag, and is owned by Aspire Nav. Co. Ltd.

The vessel has 17,451 deadweight tonnes. If she was fully loaded, with approximately 17,000 tonnes of phosphate rock, and one calculates a very conservative value of approx. 50 USD/tonne, the import was worth 850,000 USD. The price of the phosphate could, however, be a lot higher than 50 USD/tonne.

This was paid to the Moroccan state phosphate company OCP which operates a phosphate mine in occupied Western Sahara, in disregard of the wishes and interests of the Sahrawi people.

The vessel remained in port in Montevideo until the 16 of December.

Western Sahara Resource Watch does not yet know which company in Uruguay carried out the imports. For any information about this shipment, please send an email to contact@wsrw.org



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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