The Norwegian-Moroccan joint-venture, Sjovik Morocco AS, announced losses of between NOK 40 and 50 million (EUR 5.0-6.3 million) last year. The company has established a processing factory in Zone Industrielle Hay Essalam in the West Saharan coastal city of Dakhla, and is owner of the Norwegian-built purse seiner Midøy Dakhla-1 (ex-Midøy Viking) currently in operation. FIS, 3 Sept 2007.
The 68-metre long purse seiner was built in 1979, and despite extensive modernisation of the vessel it had been out of operation due to engine trouble for a long time during the first half of 2007.
The CEO and owner of the Norwegian holding company, Sjøvik Afrika AS, still expects an operating profit in Morocco this year. However, last year Sjøvik released information to the Norwegian press that all investment towards making the vessel ready for fishing off the coast of Morocco would appear for the books for 2005. Therefore, the year 2006 should be registering a net operating profit.
Moreover, apparently expenses in the Moroccan venture have skyrocketed, making Sjøvik not the first foreign company finding difficulties in trying to turn a profit from the use of modern purse seiners in that African nation.
Sjøvik Afrika AS is owned by Sjøvik AS, a company that registered losses of up to NOK 71,1 million (EUR 9 million) last year, and has accumulated losses of NOK 138 million (EUR 17.3 million) since 2000.
Sjøvik recently sold the Norwegian purse seiner, which included a quota for NOK 260 million (EUR 32.7 million). The company should therefore be in the position to handle all accumulated losses, as well as other unforeseen costs in this Moroccan venture.
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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