Rabat - South Africa’s High Court in Port Elizabeth is selling Morocco’s phosphate shipment, which was detained on May 1, 2017, in South Africa, after Polisario claimed that the cargo was illegally taken from Western Sahara.
Rabat – South Africa’s High Court in Port Elizabeth is selling Morocco’s phosphate shipment, which was detained on May 1, 2017, in South Africa, after Polisario claimed that the cargo was illegally taken from Western Sahara.
On Monday, the court opened an exclusive bid auction to sell the 55,000 tonnes of phosphate cargo loaded on the NM Cherry Blossom, which was detained by South African authorities.
In February, the court handed a pro-Polisario verdict against the Moroccan phosphate shipment, noting that the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) is the “owner of all the phosphate cargo currently loaded on the NM Cherry Blossom.”
The court added that “phosphate ownership has never been legally held by the Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP) and/or Phosphates de Boucraa SA.”
South Africa’s High court also decided that the institutions are not authorized to sell phosphate to Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited of New Zealand.
Additional orders issued by the court denied OCP the power to auction cargo and the right to recover the capital costs of the shipment.
The court ordered the auction to run 30 days, starting March 19.
“An updated laboratory analysis of the samples will be available this week to determine physical and chemical properties of the cargo,” said Clear Asset Auctioneers.
According to Reuters, the starting bid for the shipment is set at USD 1 million.
This ruling represents the range of judicial opinions surrounding the conflict. Previously, in June 2017, a Panama court declined an appeal brought by Polisario to stop a Moroccan phosphate cargo in Panama. The court decided that there was insufficient evidence that the shipment belonged to Polisario.