Apologizes for Western Sahara shipment

The Norwegian shipping company R-Bulk apologizes that one of their vessels has transported phosphates from Western Sahara, and say they will do their utmost to prevent it from happening again. The company is praised for its good corporate social responsibility.
Published: 01.06 - 2008 01:37Printer version    
Photo: Stan Muller/Shipspotting.com

On Friday 30th, it was revealed that the Norwegian shipping company R-Bulk has been involved in transporting 15.000 tonnes of phosphates from occupied Western Sahara to Colombia. The shipment was done on the vessel 'Radiance' in middle of April.

It is also possible that a company partially owned by the Chavez government in Venezuela received an almost equally large part of the ‘Radiance’ shipment few days before.

The affair was raised in an open letter to the company, signed by the one of Norway's biggest trade unions, Industry Energy, as well as the international research organisation Western Sahara Resource Watch, and Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara on Friday.

During the Friday R-Bulk apologized to Norwegian national media that their vessel had done such a transport, underlining that they are only owning the vessel, and that the day-to-day management of the vessel is done by a Japanese shipping company.

R-Bulk said, however, that they were sorry, and that they were doing all in their power to prevent it from happening again.

The phosphate industry in occupied Western Sahara - and thus also imports and shipping of the phosphate rock - is in violation of international law. It furthermore offers a sign of legitimisation of the brutal Moroccan occupation, and disregards the wishes and interests of the Sahrawi people.

"The R-Bulk phosphate shipment is in the interest of Morocco, an illegal occupier, and clearly lends legitimacy to the illegal Moroccan occupation of the territory. This kind of support makes Morocco less inclined to contribute in finding a solution to the occupation, and makes delaying tactics and attempting to profit from the existing situation more attractive", the letter said.

The organisations asked R-Bulk to issue a statement that specifies that their vessels are not longer allowed to ship phosphates from occupied Western Sahara.

To the Norwegian national broadcaster NRK Friday evening, the company said they had already raised the issue with the Japanese charterer Sanko Line, the very same morning.

"We have of course raised this issue with the shipping company that has chartered the vessel, so that they can do their utmost to prevent this from happening again in the future", chairman of R-Bulk, Christian Gerhardt Sundt, said to NRK.

According to the Norwegian News Agency (NTB), the Japanese company has rented Radiance from 2002 to 2016.

"I am sure that the charterer will listen to international advise", the Norwegian ship owner told NTB.

Good corporate behaviour
The president of the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara, Ronny Hansen, said to NRK that R-Bulk’s statement is commendable.

"The shipping company has shown a good corporate social responsibility. They have apologised, and now they try to prevent it from happening again. Many companies can learn from them", Hansen said.

As an example, he mentioned Norwegian companies such as the fishing company Sjøvik - a company that fishes in the occupied waters.

Hansen underlined that the Norwegian government’s position to advise companies against getting engaged in Western Sahara proves good intentions, but that many companies chose to ignore the Norwegian government's policy.

"Therefore we feel it is about time to start considering an explicit embargo against trade in goods from, and investments in, Western Sahara occupied by Morocco", he said.



21.01 - 2019 / 12.01 - 2019Coromandel: New buyer of conflict rock from occupied Western Sahara
16.01 - 2019 / 16.01 - 2019Parliament approves trade deal for occupied Western Sahara
16.01 - 2019 / 15.01 - 2019Rapporteur calls for referral to EU Court of Justice
15.01 - 2019 / 15.01 - 2019Western Sahara trade undermines UN peace efforts, says Rapporteur?
14.01 - 2019 / 14.01 - 2019These MEPs blocked a parliament debate on illegal Western Sahara trade
11.01 - 2019 / 17.12 - 2018WSRW asks French ENGIE about business ethics
11.01 - 2019 / 11.01 - 2019Saharawi groups, again, demand to be heard by EU
11.01 - 2019 / 11.01 - 2019Shipping company drops Western Sahara transports
10.01 - 2019 / 08.01 - 2019EU consumers, like Saharawis, ignored by EU lawmakers
07.01 - 2019 / 02.01 - 2019Misleading and false INTA report as basis for Parliamentary vote
17.12 - 2018 / 27.08 - 2010Support Western Sahara Resource Watch
17.12 - 2018 / 17.12 - 2018Protest in New Zealand against conflict mineral imports
11.12 - 2018 / 10.12 - 2018Trade Committee approves deal despite Saharawi condemnation
10.12 - 2018 / 10.12 - 2018EU Parliament's rapporteur on Western Sahara trade deal resigns
10.12 - 2018 / 10.12 - 2018EU Council refuses transparency on Western Sahara, and here's why
08.12 - 2018 / 22.11 - 2018Airbnb places occupied Western Sahara within Morocco
07.12 - 2018 / 04.12 - 2018SiemensGamesa massively prolongs plunder windmill contract
06.12 - 2018 / 30.11 - 2018European Council approves new fish deal, Sweden objects
05.12 - 2018 / 05.12 - 2018EU Court declares aviation deal invalid in Western Sahara
30.11 - 2018 / 29.11 - 2018New player wants to step in Western Sahara minefield


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.
Stand up for the Gdeim Izik 25!


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.
Support Western Sahara Resource Watch


Help us to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara for the Saharawi people. Support our work by making a donation.
Report: Moroccan green energy used for plunder


At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.

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