Uruguay imported 2, or perhaps 3, shipments from occupied Western Sahara in 2009. The shipments were labelled as "Moroccan", and had a total value of 4,4 million dollars. These are the first shipments to Uruguay that WSRW has come across to Uruguay for the entire 35 year period that Morocco has illegally exploited the mines in the occupied territory.
The first arrived at Montevideo on 10 July 2009, only some 2 weeks after it sailed from El Aaiun. The vessel, Myra, contained 16.500 tonnes of phosphate rock, with a registered value of 2.423.615,19 dollars.
The second, was the Federal Pioneer, which contained 16.170 tonnes of phosphates, to a value of 1.311.931.
Both of these shipments from the occupied territories, to a total value of 3.735.546 dollars, were probably imported by a firm called Industria Sulfurica S.A (ISUSA). ISUSA spoke of future imports from Morocco already back in 2005, when making some investments in industrial infrastructure. The firm has not yet been confronted with the information.
There was also a third shipment, arriving on the vessel Katina on 12 November 2009, probably imported by another firm, Nidera Uruguaya S.A., the Uruguayan branch of the Dutch fertilizer firm, Nidera. Nidera has not yet been confronted with the information.
Katina contained 5500 tonnes of phosphate rock, at a value of 702.817 dollars. It has not yet been confirmed from which phosphate mine this rock was sourced. As with the Myra and Federal Pioneer, also this vessel has reported to be coming from “Morocco”, but it could as well be from occupied Western Sahara. The vessels stopped over at the port of Las Palmas on 25 October 2009 before heading for Montevideo. Las Palmas is a main bunkering port for vessels visiting El Aaiun, so there is a big chance the also Katina was loaded with phosphate from the occupied territories.
Katina (IMO 7410852) is operated by the Croatian firm Sartija Nautika doo. Myra (IMO 7718175) is Bahamas flagged, and probably owned/operated by Cleopatra Shipping, Greece.
Both Nidera Uruguaya and Industria Sulfurica will soon be contacted by WSRW.
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.
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.
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