Rabat - The Office Chérifien des Phosphate (OCP) has announced its refusal to participate in a trial related to a phosphate shipment detained in a South African port in May.
Rabat – The Office Chérifien des Phosphate (OCP) has announced its refusal to participate in a trial related to a phosphate shipment detained in a South African port in May.
“We do not have the slightest doubt of our capacity to prevail on the merits of the facts and the rule of law in an unbiased forum,” the group wrote in a press statement released July 13. “However, we have reluctantly come to the conclusion that participating in any trial before this forum would give further credit to a process without any legal legitimacy.”
The state-run phosphate company called the court’s decision to hold a trial over the matter a “transparently political opinion” and a “serious abuse of power.” The company wrote that the move constitutes a “judicial over-reach” which undermines a United Nations-led resolution process.
On May 4, the NM Cherry Blossom carrying 50,000 tons of OCP phosphate bound for New Zealand was detained in Port Elizabeth, South Africa after the Polisario Front issued a complain that the cargo had been obtained illegally.
In Thursday’s statement, OCP called the seizure of the shipment, valued at USD 5 million, “an act of political piracy committed under judicial cover.”
Morocco World News political analyst Samir Bennis wrote in May that the detention violated international law, which holds that foreign ships can not be held unless they constitute a threat to the port country.
A few weeks after the seizure, Polisario made a similar complaint against an OCP shipment in Pamana. The tanker carrying the Canada-bound cargo was detained, only to be released a few days later. Panama authorities have since dismissed the claims.