The Trio Vega, a Sierra Leone-flagged cargo vessel with a capacity of around 1,800 tonnes, has been shuttling between Las Palmas and El Aaiun for the past 10 days. In its hold, the vessel is carrying sand from the parts of Western Sahara that have been occupied by Morocco since 1975. The people of Western Sahara have not consented to the taking of the sand, making the practice in violation of international law.
The Trio Vega has a track record in transporting sand from the occupied territories to the port of Las Palmas; it has made several deliveries earlier this year and has been known to commute between to the two harbours for years.
The photos below show the Trio Vega loading up in the harbour of El Aaiun on 24 August 2013, shortly before the vessel set sail for Las Palmas again. There, the sand is likely to be stored in the silos of Granintra S.A. - a cement factory located on the harbour premises - for subsequent usage on location or shipment to project sites.
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.
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.