About the Gearbulk shipments and the 'Simge Aksoy' bulk vessel

Read more about Gearbulk's involvement in Western Sahara, and the vessel 'Simge Aksoy here. As of June 2008, the vessel can have transported phosphates from Western Sahara for more than 200,000 million US dollars.
Published: 10.06 - 2008 19:25Printer version    
About Gearbulk
Gearbulk is registered on Bermuda, and has headquarters in Weybridge, South East England.
Gearbulk is 60% owned by the Jebsen family in Bergen, Norway, and40% by Japanese Mitsui O.S.K. Lines.
Chairman is Norwegian Mr. Kristian Jebsen.
Their vessels are normally manned by Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Skipsrederi AS (www.kgjs.no). It is at this point unclear whether KGJS has also had the manning responsibility for Sigme Aksoy.

About the long Gearbulk involvement
Gearbulk said to a documentary on Norwegian national broadcaster NRK on 7th of November 2007, that they have a long term agreement for deliveries.

Already in 2002, there were close connections between the New Zealand phosphate importer Ballance Agri-Nutrients and Gearbulk. The news to the right is cut-and-pasted from the newsletter of Port of Tauranga.

Western Sahara Resource Watch was first aware of the trade during the summer of 2006. The following vessels have been identified as of June 2008.

September 2007: 'Bulk Jupiter'

June 2007: 'Bulk Saturn'

July 2006: 'Bulk Sirius'

It sees thus probable that their agreement with the importers in New Zealand involves 2 cargos annualy.

About the vessel Simge Aksoy, June 2008
’Simge Aksoy’ is a bulk carrier built in 2006, owned by Turkish Akmar Shipping & Trading SA: http://akmar.com.tr/eng/filomuz.php

Gearbulk confirmed on June 9th 2008 to the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara that they have indeed chartered the vessel. She has been under Gearbulk charter since April 2008.

Here are the New Zealand harbour registries that proves 'Simge Aksoys' arrival to New Zealand. She is planned to stop over in 3 port in the country:

About the other Norwegian linked shipping companies that have terminated their shipments recently:
3 shipping companies linked to Norway (R-Bulk, Jinhui and Arnesen) have during the last 7 months said that they regret having been involved, and have announced that they do not intend to carry out similar shipments in the future.

R-Bulk from Bergen, Norway, said to Norwegian broadcaster NRK on 30  May 2008 that their regretted their involvemt, and that they will not carry out such shipments again.

The Chinese Oslo Stock Exchange registered company Jinhui Shipping announced to South China Morning Post on 11th of May that they do not longer intend to be involved in Western Sahara:

The company Arnesen Shipbrokers from the city of Farsund, Norway, said on November 9th 2007 to NRK that they do not intend to carry out such trade again:

Gearbulk is today the only remaining Norwegian linked shipping company carrying out such trade.

About the protests against Gearbulk
12 parliamentarians from UK, Japan, New Zealand and Norway on 29th of June 2007 demanded that Gearbulk's Western Sahara shipments had to stop. The company has to this day not replied to the letter.

The arrival of Gearbulk's vessel ’Bulk Sirius” in July 2006 was thoroughly debated in New Zealand's parliament:

The Association of Sahrawis in Norway, protested the trade in Norwegian magazine Ny Tid, 2007.

About the development in the world's phosphate prices
The world's phosphate prices are rapidly increasing, much more than the oil prices. A fourth quarter report from the Moroccan central bank issued in May 2008, shows the amazing development.

This is Gearbulk's opinion
”Other people by and sell the phosphates. We only transport it."
Gearbulk chairman, Mr. Kristian Jebsen to documentary at NRK 7. november 2007

”As an international company, it is not natural to consult with Norwegian authorities in questions relating to affairs outside of Norway. Even though trade with the Moroccan occupying power in Western Sahara is not recommended, it is not forbidden".
Gearbulk chairman, Mr. Kristian Jebsen, to Norwegian TV2, 3. Sept 2007

This is the opinion of Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs
"Norway sees it as important to refrain from actions that can be seen as a legitimization of the situation in Western Sahara. In order to prevent trade, investments, resource exploitation and other forms of business that are not in accordance with the local population’s interests and accordingly can be in violation of international law, the Norwegian authorities discourage such activities"
Statement from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 12 September 2007, same day as last Gearbulk shipment arrived New Zeland.

"a particularly serious violation of fundamental ethical norms e.g. because it may strengthen Morocco’s sovereignty claims and thus contribute to undermining the UN peace process”.
Stated by the Norwegian Ministry of Finance, upon the divestment of the Norwegian government's pension fund from the US oil company Kerr-McGee due to ethical reasons, july 2005.

Videos and phosphates of Gearbulk and the phosphates industry
Photos and videos of the arrival of the Gearbulk vessel 'Bulk Jupiter' September 2008. The material belongs to Norwatch, and can be used for free, providing creditation "Norwatch":

Download film clips of the phosphate trade from Western Sahara. Can be used for free:

Videos of the phosphate importer in New Zealand, Ballance Agri-Nutrients. The material shows the arrival of a Greek vessel in January this year.




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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