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




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. News Archive 2019 News Archive 2018 News Archive 2017 News Archive 2016 News Archive 2015 News Archive 2014 News Archive 2013 News Archive 2012 News Archive 2011 News Archive 2010 News Archive 2009 News Archive 2008 News Archive 2007 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