Last week, Western Sahara Resource Watch published the news of 2 Russian vessels that have been fishing in Western Sahara. They are both owned, managed and operated by Murmansk Trawl Fleet (MTF), sailing under Russian flag, and registered in the port of Murmansk.
MTF is one of Russia's biggest fishing companies, with more than 86 fishing vessels, most of them fishing in the North Atlantic. The company is controlled by the Russian government.
On January 13th we wrote about Aleksandr Mironenko. She is a socalled factory stern trawler built in 1988. She is 120 meters long, and last reported sailing from Santa Cruz de Tenerife on the Canary Islands on January 19th 2008. The vessel had also docked in the same port on September 23rd 2007 and on May 22nd 2007.
On January 19th we covered the activities of Kapitan Bogomolov, a 1991 built factory stern trawler, also 120 meters long. She is last reported sailing from Las Palmas Rada Sur Anchorage, Canary Islands, but was also seen there on December 28th 2007, on November 19th, as well as on Santa Cruz de Tenerife on June 8th 2007.
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.