Contentious oil rig moving ever closer to occupied Western Sahara

The Atwood Achiever, the drill ship that has been commissioned by Kosmos Energy, has been spotted this morning off the coast of South Africa, just south of Cape Town.
Published: 23.10 - 2014 13:58Printer version    
The oil rig 'Atwood Achiever' is owned by Atwood Oceanics, but chartered by Kosmos Energy from the USA and Cairn Energy from Scotland.

The vessel is expected to call into the port of Walvis Bay in Namibia in a few days time. After that, the rig will set sail for occupied Western Sahara, where it will undertake the first ever test well drilling since the start of the Moroccan occupation.

Oil exploration and development in Western Sahara is in violation of international law. In 2002, the United Nations Legal Office established with great clarity that any such activity ought to be in accordance with the wishes and the interests of the Saharawi people to be considered legal. Neither of those requirements have been fulfilled by Kosmos Energy and Cairn Energy.

The Saharawi people are increasingly speaking out against Kosmos' oil programme in their occupied country. Last week, Saharawi groups from the occupied territory sent a protest letter to the company. The Frente Polisario, the internationally recognised representative of the people of Western Sahara, has expressed its opposition on numerous occasions.

The involved companies refuse to listen, and prefer to collaborate with the occupying regime, Morocco.




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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