New Zealand conflict cargo judgment set for 9 June
new_zealand_610.jpg

The South African court that is deciding on the ownership of a detained phosphate rock shipment from occupied Western Sahara, has set a date for its judgment.
Published: 18.05 - 2017 20:35Printer version    
On 18 May, a hearing took place in the High Court in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, to question the parties in the case of a disputed and detained phosphate rock shipment.

The judges concluded that the court will pronounce its conclusion on 9 June. This means that the detention of the cargo on board the bulk vessel NM Cherry Blossom would last in total 40 days, from when the vessel first entered the harbour of Port Elizabeth in order to bunker on 1 May.

Morocco had tried to export a cargo of phosphate rock from the territory it holds under illegal occupation to a farmer owned cooperative in New Zealand. However, the representative body of the people of Western Sahara, Polisario, wanted it otherwise.

The importer in New Zealand, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, had stated to New Zealand media that it does nothing wrong, as it claims that purchases from the Moroccan government benefit Western Sahara. Such argument was rejected by the Court of Justice of the EU as irrelevant ( 105-106) in a 21 December 2016 judgement, and found insufficient by a key UN legal opinion in 2002. The owners of the phosphates, the people of Western Sahara, deny that they benefit, and has asked the exports to stop. Half the Saharawi people live as refugees.

The question for the South African court, then, is who owns the cargo on board. Morocco has alleged that it has the right to export the non-renewable minerals from the Bou Craa mine, despite no state in the world, nor the United Nations, recognise the Moroccan claims to the land.

Ballance had not asked the court for an interim release of the vessel, hoping the issue would be resolved by the court in this first round. Ballance has never answered questions as to whether they had obtained permission from the owners of the phosphate rock to import.

Western Sahara Resource Watch has for the last five years daily monitored the shipments of vessels leaving the territory of Western Sahara. During those years, it has never happened that a New Zealand bound vessel stops to bunker in South Africa. On the other hand, the New Zealand destined shipments always travel westwards through the Panama Canal or around the Cape Horn, crossing the Pacific Ocean..  

Since yesterday, the Panama route has become more challenging for the importers in New Zealand and on the Canadian west coast.  A second bulk vessel was detained on 17 May 2017 in Panama, on the way from Western Sahara to Canada. A judgment from the Court of Justice of the EU established clearly a principle which the UN Human Rights Council had already addressed: that business activity in Western Sahara requires the consent of the representative body of the people of the territory. The Canadian importer Agrium confirmed to The Canadian Press on 18 May that the second vessel detained was for them.

On 25 April, WSRW published its latest annual report outlining the phosphate trade from the territory.

A part of Western Sahara, including the phosphate mine, has been under Moroccan occupation since 1975.



    

Top
News:

10.08 - 2020 / 18.07 - 2020Voltalia to construct wind farm in occupied Western Sahara
28.07 - 2020 / 22.07 - 2020Will Deutsche Post's AGM provide clarity on Western Sahara operations?
27.07 - 2020 / 01.07 - 2020New Indian construction company in occupied Western Sahara
27.07 - 2020 / 20.07 - 2020Continental still unclear about future supplies to Western Sahara
22.07 - 2020 / 22.06 - 2020Conflict Bitcoin miner keeps silent on Dakhla wind farm plans
16.07 - 2020 / 29.06 - 2020Namibia slams Spain for failing to respect Saharawi rights
03.07 - 2020 / 02.07 - 2020Swiss supermarkets ban produce from occupied Western Sahara
03.07 - 2020 / 11.06 - 2020HeidelbergCement cites local benefits, ignores consent
02.07 - 2020 / 21.06 - 2020Fishmeal: German government data confirms import controversy
26.06 - 2020 / 21.06 - 2020Turkey: biggest funder of occupation of Western Sahara
25.06 - 2020 / 05.05 - 2020These are the vessels that provide fuel for the occupation
23.06 - 2020 / 22.06 - 2020Protesters set up roadblock to stop conflict minerals in New Zealand
13.06 - 2020 / 13.06 - 2020WSRW urges shareholders to challenge Continental
06.06 - 2020 / 06.06 - 2020Norwegian gas transport avoids Western Sahara at last minute
28.05 - 2020 / 28.05 - 2020World Bank removed erroneous maps
27.05 - 2020 / 27.04 - 2020Russia-Morocco controversial fisheries deal on the horizon
26.05 - 2020 / 26.05 - 2020Austrian chemical giant says no to Western Sahara trade
13.05 - 2020 / 11.05 - 2020Germany thumbs down OCP credit in Western Sahara  
11.05 - 2020 / 09.05 - 2020HeidelbergCement expands in occupied Western Sahara
10.05 - 2020 / 08.05 - 2020Equinor will no longer export gas to occupied Western Sahara




EN ES FR DE AR

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.
EU Court cases on Western Sahara for dummies

tn_law_hammer.jpg

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.
Support Western Sahara Resource Watch

tn_sjovik_demo_610.jpg

Help us to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara for the Saharawi people. Support our work by making a donation.

WSRW.org News Archive 2020
WSRW.org News Archive 2019
WSRW.org News Archive 2018
WSRW.org News Archive 2017
WSRW.org News Archive 2016
WSRW.org News Archive 2015
WSRW.org News Archive 2014
WSRW.org News Archive 2013
WSRW.org News Archive 2012
WSRW.org News Archive 2011
WSRW.org News Archive 2010
WSRW.org News Archive 2009
WSRW.org News Archive 2008
WSRW.org News Archive 2007
WSRW.org News Archive 2004-2006


Register for our English newsletter:









These web pages have been built with the financial support of the trade union Industry Energy