A Russian Diesel Tanker Arrives at the Cuban Port of Matanzas

The ship, from the Russian Sovcomflot, travels under the flag of Liberia. (Peter Beenjes)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 7 September 2022 — The ship Transsib Bridge, carrying 300,000 barrels of Russian diesel, arrived on Wednesday at the port of Matanzas. The tanker, which operates under the flag of Liberia, took on the fuel at the port of Nakhodka (Russia) and, after passing through the Panama Canal, docked in Cartagena (Colombia).

On September 2, when it arrived at it scheduled destination, it didn’t unload — although Reuters speculates about a possible transfer of part of the cargo — and then updated its trajectory, declaring that it was on its way to the Island.

The oil tanker has been managed since April by Sun Ship Management, a unit of the Russian company Sovcomflot, which has been sanctioned by the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, and has lost the insurance provided by Western companies for its fleet.

Russian fuel consumption, which plummeted in the West after the sanctions imposed following the invasion of Ukraine, has increased in Cuba in recent months. Last July, a Russian tanker, also from Sovcomflot and flying the flag of Liberia, arrived at the port of Matanzas with 700,000 barrels of oil from Ust-Luga.

The oil tanker’s cargo was valued at about $70 million, according to the price of the product at that time.

The largest amount of fuel that Cuba obtains, however, continues to come from the agreement it maintains with Venezuela. From there, 81,000 barrels of oil and derivatives a day arrived on the Island in August, one of the largest quantities recorded in recent years.

Fuel arrives at a very necessary time for Cuba. The country is immersed in a serious energy crisis, and on Monday gave the green light to the import of electric generators of greater power than previously allowed.

A month ago, Customs authorized the free importation of different products, mainly electronics and household appliances. Among them, and in order to alleviate the tense electrical situation, it allowed the bringing in of two generators with an economic value less than the current forecasts, such that after a few weeks, Customs was forced to correct the rule.

Generator owners have competed for long hours this summer with vehicle drivers to be able to get fuel. The lines even caught the attention of the international press, amazed by the number of Cubans who waited more than four days to fill a tank.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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