Rabat – The Danish ship carrying a shipment of Moroccan phosphate detained in Panama has been released, media reports say.
Ultra Innovation was detained in Panama following a maritime court order issued by the Polisario Front, who had claimed the cargo was transported “illegally.”
The ship is now heading to its original destination os Vancouver, Canada, due to arrive May 1, according to Moroccan news site Ahdath Info.
Panama ambassador to Morocco Gloria Young stated that the detention of the ship will not affect relationships between the two countries.
The detention of the Moroccan shipment in Panama came after another cargo was stopped earlier in May at Port Elizabeth, South Africa due to a similar legal challenge by Polisario on the grounds that the phosphate shipment is from Western Sahara.
Morocco sees this new Polisario strategy as a reaction to the group’s failure during the Guerguerat crisis, where it had to pull out from the buffer zone under international pressure.
According to International Law, Polisario’s legal claims do not stand up, as Moroccan shipments of phosphate present no threats to political order or environmental security.
As Morocco World News Senior Analysts Samir Bennis pointed out in a previous article, “Articles 17, 18 and 19 of the UN Convention on the Law of the sea guarantee to all states the right to traverse the territorial waters of other states.”
The convention details the cases in which this right can be denied, and that includes: “threat to peace, security or good order of the coastal state”, threat to territorial integrity and political independence, serious pollution threats.
The release of the Moroccan shipment from Panama confirmed that the cargo does not represent any of the mentioned threats.
On the other hand, the seizure of the Moroccan shipment in South Africa up to date is clear violation of international law.
South Africa is Polisario’s second major ally in Africa after Algeria, the group’s main sponsor.