New Zealand activists and trade union preparing protest against Blood Phosphates

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Scoop Independent News.- Ravensdown’s enterprise shipment of ‘blood phosphate’ is currently anchored offshore from Christchurch, in an attempt to avoid protestors in Lyttelton, Christchurch, New Zealand. Sources from Lyttelton Port Company report that the ship will remain anchored for over 36 hours, and will not berth until 2300 on the 8th of December.

Local human rights activists are planning a ‘peace flotilla’ for the ships arrival, to protest the importing of phosphate from the occupied territory of Western Sahara.

Local organiser Josie Butler states “Ravensdown are directly funding war crimes by importing the phosphate from the Moroccan occupiers of Western Sahara”. The ship has carried over 50,000 tonnes of ‘conflict phosphate’ from the non-self governing territory of Western Sahara. Christchurch group, ‘Ravensdown- Take ‘Em Down’ are organising a water flotilla, inspired by the Peace Squadrons – which were instrumental in the NZ Nuclear Free campaign.

The Rail and Maritime Union will be boarding the ship on her arrival, to deliver a letter of protest directly to the Captain of the controversial ship. “Last month the Council of Trade Unions (CTU) passed a resolution condemning Morocco’s illegal occupation of Western Sahara and calling upon the New Zealand government to halt importation of phosphates from the area. As an affiliate to the CTU the RMTU will register our protest by meeting the captain of the vessel and handing him a letter including the CTU resolution”.

The NZ police have filed a report to Customs NZ who are currently investigating the Federal Crimson, due to the ship turning off GPS systems whilst in NZ domestic waters. This directly violates the Martitime Transport Act. “This is obviously an attempt to hide the ships location” states Josie Butler. Ships travelling to New Zealand with the phosphate have to take an elaborate route, avoiding most African countries – which consider the product stolen – and also avoiding the Panama Canal, where a ship was detained in 2017 before being allowed to continue.

This comes just days after the NZ Police issued a tresspass notice to Dunedin human rights activist Sam Murphy, who is organising a peace flotilla for the ships arrival in Dunedin.

Protest groups and human rights supporters are preparing to “unwelcome” bulk carrying cargo ship ‘Federal Crimson’ as it arrives in Lyttelton and then Dunedin. The ship has carried over 50,000 tonnes of ‘conflict phosphate’ from the non-self governing territory of Western Sahara. Christchurch group, ‘Ravensdown- Take ‘Em Down’ are organising a water flotilla, inspired by the Peace Squadrons – which were instrumental in the NZ Nuclear Free campaign

New Zealand fertilizer companies Ravensdown and Ballance are being criticized for purchasing from Moroccan controlled phosphate exporter, OCP.

“Every shipment purchased gives more reason for the occupying power to remain and delays a peaceful outcome for the Saharawi people.” said Rose Murphy of Environmental Justice Ōtepoti.

“Ravensdown are ignoring the requests of the Saharawi people and their government to stop purchasing from OCP. Ravensdown justify their ongoing involvement by claiming the purchasing of blood phosphate benefits local people. This ignores the reality in the refugee camps and the violence and oppression experienced by Saharawi’s living in the occupied area,” said Rose Murphy. “Our groups have been in close contact with and are working alongside the Saharawi people to ensure their voices are heard.”