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Seizure of a cargo of phosphate rock destined for New Zealand

A New Zealand organization organized a series of activities to campaign in favor of the Polisario and protest against the arrival of a phosphate cargo coming from Morocco. Despite its efforts, the organization failed to attract the attention of activists in the country.

The gathering organized by a New Zealand local environmental organization on Sunday, December 16th, in Dunedin.

On Sunday, December the 16th, a local environmental organization protested against the arrival of a bulk vessel loaded with «phosphate rock from Western Sahara». The NGO organized a gathering in the Dunedin port, in New Zealand, after it campaigned for a week against the fertilizer company, Ravensdown, reported Western Sahara Resources Watch on Monday.

On Friday, December the 14th, the same NGO published a Facebook post, calling the inhabitants of Dunedin to participate to Sunday’s gathering.

«The ‘Triton Valk’ bulk carrier is due to arrive at Ravensdown Dunedin at 12pm on Sunday carrying tones of phosphates stolen from Western Sahara», wrote Environmental Justice Otepoti, adding that its members are «organizing a low-key gathering as a show of solidarity for the Saharawi people and to tell Ravensdown [they] don’t approve of them funding a military occupation».

Speaking to Western Sahara Resource Watch, Said Rose Murphy, the spokesperson for Environmental Justice Otepoti, said that the «people of Dunedin would be horrified to know that a local business is funding such injustice».

A campaign in favor of the Polisario

However, the gathering, organized by Environmental Justice Otepoti, was preceded by a series of activities to protest against the arrival of the phosphate rocks cargo.

According to SPS, a documentary film entitled «Winds of Resistance» directed by Canadian filmmaker Josh Cambel, was screened Wednesday in Dunedin, New Zealand. The event organized by Environmental Justice Otepoti was an opportunity for the group to denounce the arrival of the ship, says the same source.

Meanwhile, the Front’s representative in Australia, Mohamed Fadel Kamal, wrote a letter to the executive director of the company, Ravensdown, urging him to put an end to the firm’s activities in Western Sahara.

The gathering organized by a New Zealand local environmental organization Sunday in Dunedin./Ph. WSRW

Despite the NGO’s efforts, Sunday’s gathering was attended by a small number of people, as showed in the photos published by Western Sahara Resource Watch. Only 10 people were there at the Harbor Rugby club to protest against the activities of the New Zealand company.

For the record, last year a phosphate cargo carried by a New Zealand ship was detained in Port Elizabeth by a civil maritime court order on the 1st of May, 2017. The latter was on its way to New Zealand when it got stopped by the South African authorities.

The seizure of a Cherry Blossom which was loaded by a shipment of phosphate owned by Phosboucraa, was based on purely political allegations, said Moroccan authorities.

In February 2018, the Port Elizabeth court ruled in the absence of the Moroccan party involved, that the phosphate cargo belongs to the Polisario Front.

After being out in auction for months, no one had tried to buy the shipment which pushed South Africa to reach a settlement with the vessel’s operator and get them pay for the judicial fees only.

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