Cuba Received More Oil in May, Suspicions Grow About the Fuel’s Destination

The Vilma sailed from José on several occasions to the port in Cienfuegos, designated as the destination on the application, but as it approached the Island it disappeared from the radar. (Vesselfinder)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 3 June 2023 — The constant movement of oil tankers from Venezuela to Cuban ports during the month of May foreshadowed what, this Friday, was confirmed by the data published by Reuters: exports of Venezuelan crude oil to the Island reached 58,100 barrels per day (bpd), almost 30% more than was  sent by the state PDVSA in April, which was only 45,250 bpd.

In its usual monthly report on the commercial activities of Petróleos de Venezuela S.A., the British agency detected a 14% drop in May exports compared to the previous month, but Havana was again saved from the cuts. On average, total sales were 606,258 bpd of crude oil and refined products, less than the previous two months but more than January and February of this year.

For its part, the American company Chevron – recently authorized to export Venezuelan fuel – sent 149,000 bpd to the United States and its warehouses in the Bahamas in May, a little more than in April (141,000 bpd).

Venezuela’s exchange with its allies has not stopped. According to Reuters, Iran sent a shipment of 2.1 million barrels of gas condensate to Caracas, but according to the Tanker Trackers application it has not yet been unloaded.

In the case of Cuba, the activity has been frantic during May: from the Venezuelan port terminal of José, several ships have sailed to the Island, especially to Cienfuegos, where Vesselfinder detected the presence of the oil tanker Vilma, with a Cuban flag.

The Vilma sailed on several occasions to the Cienfuegos port – indicated as a destination by the application – from José, but as it approached the Island it disappeared from the radar, to appear days later anchored in Venezuela. When examining the list of ports of the oil tanker, Cienfuegos doesn’t appear in the registry.

When examining the registry list of ports of call of the tanker, it never appears to have been in Cienfuegos. (Screen capture)

But this is not the only ship with a Cuban flag that has irregular activity. The same happens with the Alicia, which, coming from the Venezuelan port of Amuay, didn’t declare its destination; and with the Sandino, which set sail from José on May 11 and whose landing pier is not known.

Like the Vilma, the oil tanker Delsa constantly sails from the Venezuelan terminal to Matanzas, where it is supposed to be anchored from May 28, but the Cuban destination is also erased on its registry. El Pastorita, another of the Cuban tankers, left Havana several days ago and arrived this Friday in Moa, a port with little activity on the eastern coast of the Island.

Even more discreet, but always on the increase, has been the movement of international oil tankers to Cuba. This Saturday, the oil tanker Marianna V.V., with the Panamanian flag, was anchored in Havana; the Primula, with the flag of Belize, was in Mariel; and the Caribbean Alliance – with the Panamanian flag – will sail towards Moa, where it will join the Dutch oil tanker NQ Calipso.

The Nicos arrived at the port of Santiago de Cuba this Friday, with the flag of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which at the time of this article had not declared its origin for more than 70 days, and whose record of arrivals is empty. At the same terminal and coming from the port of Kaliningrad, in Russia, the tanker Scot Hamburg – with the Dutch flag – will arrive on June 6.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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