23 of March 2009, the vessel Apisara Naree discharged 12.600 tonnes of phosphates in the port of Baranquilla, Colombia.
It had taken the vessel ten days to cross the Atlantic from the port of origin, El Aaiun in Western Sahara.
Western Sahara is occupied by Morocco, and trading phosphates from the territory, in the disregard of the Sahrawi people's interest and wishes is both considered highly unethical as well as in violation of international law.
The shipment took place without the consent of representatives of the Sahrawi people.
The Danish government encourages Danish companies to not get involved in trade from Western Sahara, but still the vessel Apisara Naree is operated by a Danish shipping company, Clipper Bulk, part of the Clipper Group.
Apisara Naree has IMO number 9127045, and sails under Thai flag. Owner is Precious Shipping from Thailand.
Previously the vessels discharging in Colombia have also discharged in Venezuela. It is not known whether this was the case with Apisara Naree.
However, there were something else interesting taking place in port of Baranquilla, Colombia, shortly after this import. First half of April 2009, two shipments with phosphate rock arrived Baranquilla from port of Puerto José, Venezuela. The first was on 2 April 2009, carrying 6500 tonnes, the other on 10 April 2009, carrying 9785 tonnes. The shipments were both done on Thai vessel Bussara Naree, IMO number 9127057. The actual origin of the phosphate rock is not known, but one could expect it to also origin from occupied Western Sahara.
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.
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.
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