Why it Matters:
Panama authorities have detained a ship bound for Canada containing phosphates illegally mined by a state-owned Moroccan company in occupied Western Sahara. This comes as South African authorities extended their hold on a ship containing 54,000 tons of phosphate rock from Western Sahara bound for New Zealand, pending a court decision. Last year, the European Court of Justice ruled that EU-Morocco trade deals could not apply to Western Sahara because Morocco had no legitimate claim over the territory. These seizures represent a major victory in the Frente POLISARIO’s battle to halt the illegal exploitation of Western Sahara’s natural resources.