A SHIP carrying 35,000 tonnes of Sahara Desert sand has been given permission to unload its cargo in Mallorca.

The Southwester sailed into controversy after environmentalists claimed it was carrying ‘illegal’ sand to be used on golf courses.

SOUTHWESTER: Protestors anger at Sahara sand shipment
SOUTHWESTER: Protestors anger at Sahara sand shipment

The EU prohibits the illegal use of Saharan natural resources, with the Southwester docked in the bay of Palma since Monday.

But on Wednesday, the Southwester’s operators Lantimar confirmed the vessel had been granted permission by the Guardia Civil to unload the sand in Palma.

Environment minister Vincenc Vidal called on the government to ‘take measures’ to block the ship’s ‘illegal cargo’.

Campaign group the Friends of the Saharan People filed a denuncia, claiming the cargo ‘violates international law’.

A spokesperson for the ship’s operator told Diario Mallorca they were ‘surprised’ by the controversy.


  1. A word of warning. Before it became illegal a number of years ago,Tenerife unloaded a boat load of sand from the Sahara for the city of Santa Cruz and it’s newly created beach. Only to find the sand was riddled with scorpions it took months to clean all that sand to allow the beach to be used. Mallorca you have been warned!

  2. 35,000 tonnes? Absolutely impossible. 5,000 tonnes would be nearer the mark. Ship is 5,400 deadweight all told, i.e. cargo, plus fuel, and stores. This information has been obtained from AIS data as posted on Marine Traffic web site.

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