Stealing sand from Sahara

Here is the vessel West Sky caught on camera while loading sand in the occupied Western Sahara.
Published: 09.02 - 2008 22:43Printer version    
These unique photos of the Panaman flagged cargo vessel were taken close to El Aaiun in occupied Western Sahara, late 2007. The ship manager and the operator or the boat is Arabella Enterprises Corp at the Canary Islands.

The boat is carrying sand to the Canary Islands, where it is most likely being used for the construction industry -or for the cnstruction of white beaches. Canary Islands is the main importer of the illegally exported sand.

West Sky was observed in El Aaiun in end of July 2007, end of October 2007, and end of December 2007. At all occasions it went directly to Las Palmas or Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

It is hardly a safe boat. In a security inspection  in Santa Cruz de Tenerfie on January 22nd, 13 defects were reported, such as inoperative ventilation, expired nautical publications, life saving appliances not as requrierd, not properly filled reports and documents, unmarked means of escape, not properly maintained steering gear, inadequate alarm signals.

The same vessel has been visiting Riosario, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands. The two photos below shows it is visiting Rosario on 31st of December 2007 and on 18th of February 2007. (Both photos from

The cargo vessel, which has IMO number 6810201 and call sign HOTC, was once blue, and used to sail under Swedish flag (owned at that time by the Swedish shipping company Olskrokens Åkeri AB, Kyrkesund). Photo below from 1995 is published on



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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


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.
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