Furness Karumba repeating shipment

In 2005, the bulk vessel Furness Karumba got known in Australia, when she shipped phosphates - and 2 dead Moroccan stowaways - from occupied Western Sahara to Australia. Now the vessel is on its way again.
Published: 10.08 - 2008 17:30Printer version    
The bulk carrier Furness Karumba is now on a new journey with phosphates to Australia.

The vessel is set to arrive Fremantle Ports, near Perth, on 26th of August, and stay for approximately 8 days, before continuing on the 4th of September.

When she shipped phosphates to Australia in 2005, she carried with her 2 dead Moroccan stowaways.

"The arrival of the Furness Karumba in Perth full of phosphate mined in Western Sahara proves that Morocco has been exploiting Western Sahara's natural resources. This is contrary to international law. We have called upon the importers, CSBP [a subsidiary of Wesfarmers] to stop this illegal activity and the Australian Government to intervene." Mr. Nick O'Neill, President of the Australia Western Sahara Association (AWSA) said when Furness Karumba arrived in 2005.

The local importer in Perth, CSBP Wesfarmers, thus continues its imports despite of international critisism. Since the last Furness Karumba shipment, a handful of European investors have divested from the Wesfarmers of ethical reasons.

On July 24th 2008, the vessel was spotted by Western Sahara Resource Watch researchers off the shores of Las Palmas, Canary Islands. The vessel was then on its way from Iceland to El Aaiun, occupied Western Sahara, where the phosphate rock was loaded in violation of international law.

The local agent in Perth is Inchcape Shipping Services.

The vessel belongs to the shipping company Furness Withy Chartering, a London and Melbourne based dry cargo ship operating and broking company which is wholly owned by the German Oetker Group, one of the largest private firms in Germany. The bulk carrier activities seem to be operating from the Melbourne office , Furness Withy Australia.

Furness Karumba is not the only vessel on her way to Fremantle Port, Perth. It has just been confirmed that the vessel Santa Anna, will arrive Berth "No 4 Kwin Bulk" on August 20th 2008, with the same agent; Indian Ocean Shipping Agencies.

After stopping over in Fremantle, Santa Anna will continue to Port of Napier, NZ, where it will arrive on Sept 2nd. 2008.

It is not yet clear whether Santa Anna is discharging in Perth, or only stopping over for bunkering.

Even Santa Anna is a familiar vessel for Western Sahara Resource Watch. It could be the same vessel as one of the same name that shipped phosphate rock to Lyttleton, New Zealand, in April 2007. At that time, the vessel did not stop over in Australia on its way, but came directly from the occupied country.



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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.
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