The Maritime Union condemns the import of illegal shipments of natural resources from Western Sahara

PADDY CRUMLIN

NATIONAL SECRETARY, MARITIME UNION OF AUSTRALIA

PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL TRANSPORT WORKERS FEDERATION

DAVID BALL

VICTORIAN EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY, MARITIME UNION OF AUSTRALIA

PRESS RELEASE

MARITIME UNION CONDEMNS IMPORT OF ILLEGAL CARGOES OF NATURAL RESOURCES FROM WESTERN SAHARA

The Maritime Union of Australia condemns the actions of Incitec Pivot, an Australian company, which has resumed importing illegal goods from occupied Western Sahara through the port of Geelong.

The Clipper Isadora vessel offloaded 33,000 tonnes of plundered natural resources – a cargo of phosphate mineral rock – worth A$15 million at the Geelong Bulk Terminal.

This is a resumption of trade in a commodity extracted from a country confirmed by the United Nations General Assembly as being subject to illegal occupation by neighboring Morocco. It is the largest and most populous territory on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. The plight of the people of Western Sahara and their quest for independence is analogous to the plight of the East Timorese, which came to a head in 1999.

Under international criminal law, the export and sale of Western Sahara’s phosphate rock – a non-renewable resource – is a war crime.

“The Maritime Union has a long and proud tradition of solidarity with international campaigns for sovereignty and self-determination, and we join representatives of the Sahrawi people here in Australia in condemning Incitec Pivot for its decision to resume trade in this illegally plundered resource,” said Paddy Crumlin, National Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia.

“We must respect the sovereignty of First Nations peoples around the world and their rights to the natural resources of their homelands. Exploration and extraction of these limited resources should benefit their true owners, not those who illegally occupy their territory,” Crumlin said.

In 2017, the Sahrawi government filed civil suits against separate shipments of rock phosphate, successfully detaining cargo ships in Panama and South Africa. In determining that the cargo was the sovereign resource of the Sahrawi government and people, the South African High Court observed that Western Sahara is occupied under international law and that Morocco and its state-owned companies could not legally claim to sell the cargo. merchandise.

MUA Victorian Branch Secretary David Ball expressed solidarity with the people of Western Sahara, saying that “MUA members are concerned that they have been told to work on a vessel carrying illegal cargo and plundered. Our work here in Australia should not be used to generate profits for those who illegally occupy Western Sahara,” he said.

The Maritime Union of Australia understands that the Sahrawi authorities are considering several possible actions, including the prosecution of Incitec Pivot Limited in a national civil and criminal action, the initiation of new legal proceedings against the vessel Clipper Isadora in the following countries where the ship might appear, as well as official complaints. to various United Nations agencies.

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