At Least 16 Ships Carrying Venezuelan Oil Navigate Without Direction on the High Seas

The United States has threatened to increase its list of sanctioned entities if they collaborate in the commerce and transport of oil from the Venezuelan state enterprise, PDVSA. (EFE)

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14ymedio, Havana, June 27, 2020 – At least 16 vessels transporting a total of 18.1 million barrels of Venezuelan crude and fuel are trapped in the waters of several countries, according to what Reuters published this Saturday with data from Refinitiv Eikon, a financial analysis platform.

The buyer countries avoid them to prevent possible sanctions on the part of the United States, which is hardening its pressure in order to reduce exports of oil from Venezuela, the principal source of income for the government of Nicolás Maduro.

Last week, for example, Washington imposed sanctions against two Mexican companies, among them Libre Abordo, under the accusation of “transporting petroleum robbed from the Venezuelan people,” and helping the regime of Maduro to get around the restrictions. The Treasury Department, in addition, has threatened to increase its list of sanctioned entities if they collaborate in the commerce and transport of crude from the Venezuelan state enterprise, PDVSA.

The United States also penalized five captains of Iranian ships with the blockade of activities in United States territory and the prohibition of operating in its waters, for having delivered 1.5 million barrels of oil to the South American country.

With things as they are, some ships have been on the high seas for more than six months, says Reuters, without being able to unload in any port, since the petroleum “rarely is offloaded in tanks without having a defined buyer.” While they wait, each vessel incurs heavy charges for delays. According to a shipping-line source in the British agency, the tariff for the delay of a ship that transports Venezuelan oil is at least 30,000 dollars per day.

Former clients of PDVSA, affirms Reuters, are worried because sanctions are imposed even for completing permitted transactions, like the payment of debt with oil or the exchange for food.

The difficult situation of exports from Venezuela is aggravated, concludes the agency, by the over-supply of the market, which  permits buyers to acquire crude that is less-risky than the Iranian or Venezuelan.

Last February, Venezuela denounced the United States before the International Criminal Court for the sanctions, accusing Washington of committing “crimes against humanity.”

Translated by Regina Anavy


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