Bulker carrying disputed phosphate finally leaves South Africa after a year’s impoundment

Bulker carrying disputed phosphate finally leaves South Africa after a year’s impoundment

Morocco’s OCP Group has finally managed to get a cargo of 55,000 tonnes of phosphates out of South Africa just over one year since its shipment onboard the Cherry Blossom bulker was impounded by authorities.

On May 1, 2017, South African officials boarded the ship from Laayoune, in Western Sahara, bound for New Zealand, while calling at Port Elizabeth. Saharawi separatists of the Polisario Front had previously lodged a complaint with a local judge against the shipment and obtained the seizure of the cargo of the Marshall Islands-flagged Cherry Blossom.

After much legal wrangling OCP has been able to pay a symbolic dollar at auction to take the cargo back and the ship finally left South African waters earlier this week.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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