Uruguay, the new phosphate importer
Uruguay imported 2, or perhaps 3, shipments from occupied Western Sahara last year. The shipments were labelled as "Moroccan", and had a total value of 4,4 million dollars.
Published: 04.03 - 2010 08:20Printer version    
Western Sahara Resource Watch can reveal today that there have been more imports to Uruguay from occupied Western Sahara than what has been previously known. 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.

From the Uruguayan trade registries it appears that the South American country in 2009 received 3 shipments of phosphate from ”Morocco”. However at least 2 of them - perhaps all 3 -  are from Western Sahara.

The first, until now not known, arrived 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 mentioned Federal Pioneer, which Western Sahara Resource Watch revealed in February. Federal Pioneer 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.
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