French firm deleted boat after Sahara visit

The French shipping company Setaf Saget removed a vessel from their webpages, and stopped replying to mails, after a French organisation wrote them about a transport of phosphates from occupied Western Sahara.
Published: 22.11 - 2010 20:59Printer version    
The vessel that visited occupied Western Sahara, Tenor, is a 58.000 tonnes bulk carrier, that transported phosphates to New Zealand in September this year.

The vessel made its first stop in Lyttelton on 7 Sept 2010, continuing towards Napier on the 9 Sept, and stopping over from 14 to 15 Sept 2010 in Tauranga. The vessel's arrival to New Zealand was caught on camera and published in latest issue of the newsletter Maritime Press Clippings (25. Sept 2010).

But the giant ship disappeared from the webpages of Setaf Saget the moment the shipping company got a complaint letter from the French Western Sahara organisation APSO, member of Western Sahara Resource Watch.

This happened while it was still unclear who had the ownership over the vessel at the time the shipment was carried out.

The vessel was originally acquired by Setaf Saget, a subsidiary of Bourbon Maritime, in March 2010. During the summer of 2010, a series of Setaf Saget vessels, including the Tenor, was sold to Genco Shipping & Trading Ltd. Tenor was priced at 35,700,000 dollars.

On 20 September, while still in New Zealand, the vessel was officially handed over to its new owner, and changed from Maltese to Marshall Islands flag, while the name was changed from Tenor to Genco Languedoc.

The question remains, however, who were the owners of the vessel at the time that the shipment was made. Setaf Saget has not replied to 2 phone calls and 3 emails from APSO. The French organisation has wanted to know what date - and to whom - the vessel was sold.

setaf_saget_webpage_10.09.2010_300.jpgThe picture to the right shows a version of the Setaf Saget webpages as seen on 10 September 2010 here from before the vessel was deleted (click on photo for bigger version).

"A number of shipping firms have decided to stop their transports from Western Sahara after have been made aware of the political and ethical implications of the trade. We urge to your firm to show social responsibility and ethics by following this example, and halt all transports of phosphates and other natural resources from occupied Western Sahara", stated APSO in in its first letter to the shipowners of Setaf Saget.

‘Genco Languedoc’ (ex-Tenor) has IMO number 9490686, and can probably carry up to 54.000 tonnes of cargo. Importer of the illegal cargo on New Zealand is Ballance Agri-Nutrients.




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