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Aftenposten: Bergen shipowner blasted for trade with Western Sahara

Members of parliaments in Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand and at home in Norway are not at all happy with shipowning firm Gearbulk. Aftenposten, 29 June 2007.
Published: 09.07 - 2007 12:27Printer version    
29 June 2007

The longtime Bergen firm, now registered in Britain, has been accused of exploiting the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara.

Seven Norwegian politicians from the Labour, Socialist Left, Center and Liberal parties are among those who have signed a letter urging Gearbulk to halt its transport of phosphate from Western Sahara.

The letter charges Gearbulk with cooperating with an illegal occupation force, and thereby increasing the risk of more armed conflict, destabilization and suffering in Western Sahara.

Gearbulk, owned by a branch of the Norwegian Jebsen family, has been defying government recommendations against trade with Western Sahara.

The Norwegian Foreign Ministry, however, can only ask companies to avoid doing business with such troubled countries, and can't impose sanctions.

Gearbulk's bulk vessel Bulk Saturn tied up at Tauranga, New Zealand earlier this week, to unload a cargo from Western Sahara, according to

Gearbulk chairman Kristian Jebsen claimed in a press release that the company operates within existing laws and regulations.

Aftenposten English Web Desk/NTB




Since 1975, three quarters of the territory of Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco. A majority of the population is still living in refugee camps in Algeria. Those who remained in their homeland are subjected to serious harassment from the Moroccan occupiers. For more than 40 years the Sahrawis have been waiting for the fullfilment of their legitimate right to self-determination.

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