Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) publishes today a report outlining the transports of petroleum products into occupied Western Sahara. The findings document a heavy involvement of the Swedish shipping company Wisby Tankers.
That company owns two vessels in partnership with its Moroccan partners, and its joint-venture Casablanca Tankers is by far the most important supplier of petroleum to Western Sahara. Its two vessels, Wisby Argan and Wisby Cedar, came into operation in 2010 and they have sailed into the occupied territory on average every twelve days with petroleum products.
The volume of the petroleum deliveries is astonishing: the vessels are supplying the occupied territory an average of over half a million litres of petroleum each and every day, day in and day out. In total, WSRW estimates that Wisby’s two tankers annually transport 194 million litres of petroleum products into Western Sahara – with a value probably around € 106 million. That constitutes the majority of the perhaps 250-280 million litres/year petroleum that is delivered into the territory.
Wisby Tankers has been carrying out this trade for a decade and the petroleum it transports is used to uphold the occupation. It goes almost without saying that the Saharawis in Western Sahara also need petroleum products for civilian life-sustaining purposes. Yet, the petroleum is mostly used by the Moroccan administration, army, settlers and for plunder of the territory’s rich natural resources. Without the oil imports the illegal occupation would be practically impossible to maintain. The petroleum originates from refineries in Spain, including on the Canary Islands.
WSRW urges the Swedish government to advice against Swedish business involvement in occupied Western Sahara, and calls on the company to terminate the transports to the territory.
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.