On 20th March, Defence Web reported that a sealed bid auction has opened to buy 55,000 tonnes of phosphate aboard a ship seized by South African authorities last year over the Moroccan cargo from the disputed Western Sahara region. The starting bid for the cargo was $1 million. The Polisario Front, the political organisation representing Western Sahara, alleged the phosphate shipment en route to New Zealand was illegally taken from Western Sahara territory and went to court to have the cargo seized. The Marshall Island-flagged ship, NM Cherry Blossom, has been in Port Elizabeth since May after a South African court ruled the vessel should remain until the case goes to trial or security is posted. The court case is a test of Polisario’s new legal tactic in its long-running conflict with Morocco over Western Sahara, a disputed territory where the two sides fought a war until a 1991 ceasefire and where UN talks failed to reach an accord. A Panama court last year dismissed a similar case by the Polisario to block a phosphate cargo in Panama, saying there was no evidence it belonged to the group and court was not the venue to judge political matters.