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Venezuela using Trinidad to hide oil exports: report

By Trinidad Guardian

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(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — There are re­ports of T&T ports be­ing used by Venezuela’s state oil com­pa­ny, Petróleos de Venezuela, SA (PDVSA), to avoid US sanc­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port on the web­site Lloyd’s List Mar­itime In­tel­li­gence, ships ap­pear to be col­lect­ing oil car­go in Venezuela be­fore stop­ping off in T&T and then set­ting off again, rais­ing sus­pi­cions that car­goes are be­ing hid­den. It said PDVSA is sus­pect­ed of us­ing co-loads and “false berthings” to dis­guise car­go origins.

Since March 21, three tankers be­long­ing to PDVSA have loaded oil car­goes in Venezuela then di­vert­ed to ar­eas close to T&T for sev­er­al hours. Ves­sel-track­ing da­ta showed that af­ter spend­ing a short time in T&T wa­ters, the tankers left for their fi­nal long-haul des­ti­na­tions.

This was like­ly an at­tempt to get new bills of lad­ing stat­ing T&T, not Venezuela as the points of ori­gin for the car­goes of fu­el oil.

The tankers have been iden­ti­fied as the Min­doro, Amore Mio and Serengeti. Min­doro is owned by TMS Tankers, while Serengeti is owned by a Greece-based ship­ping com­pa­ny, Dy­na­com. The own­er of Amore Mio could not be de­ter­mined.“There is no sug­ges­tion that any of the ship­ments were in breach of US sanc­tions,” Mar­itime In­tel­li­gence added.

This is the sec­ond al­leged PDVSA tac­tic to hide the des­ti­na­tion and ori­gin of pe­tro­le­um and crude exports. In late Jan­u­ary, af­ter the im­po­si­tion of the US sanc­tions, two tankers that loaded in Venezuela were in­volved in ship-to-ship trans­fers off Gibral­tar.

Rolling pow­er black­outs that dis­rupt­ed port load­ings on top of US sanc­tions have shrunk crude ex­ports from Venezuela to 17-year lows. In March, just un­der 1 mil­lion bar­rels per day was loaded on 33 tankers, ac­cord­ing to Lloyd’s List In­tel­li­gence—the sec­ond-low­est vol­ume since 2006.

The US sanc­tions cur­rent­ly re­strict the sales of crude and pe­tro­le­um prod­ucts from PDVSA to the US unless rev­enues are placed in es­crow, cut­ting off the gov­ern­ment of Pres­i­dent Nicolás Maduro from its biggest ex­port earn­er. Oil is re­spon­si­ble for more than 90 per cent of Venezuela’s rev­enues.

The sanc­tions are aimed at block­ing US$7 bil­lion in PDVSA’s as­sets and more than $11 bil­lion in ex­port pro­ceeds over the next year.

On April 12, the US Of­fice of For­eign As­sets Con­trol ex­pand­ed the sanc­tions to in­clude com­pa­nies and ves­sels trans­port­ing crude to Cu­ba. Shipown­ers out­side the US have been warned that they could be affect­ed.

“While there are no spe­cif­ic pro­hi­bi­tions aimed at non-US per­sons trans­act­ing busi­ness with PDVSA, there is the po­ten­tial that non-US per­sons could nev­er­the­less be sub­ject to sanc­tions ei­ther for operating in the Venezue­lan oil sec­tor, or for pro­vid­ing ma­te­r­i­al as­sis­tance to, or sup­port for, PDVSA,” the re­port stat­ed.

Two of the car­goes that were di­vert­ed through T&T are cur­rent­ly sail­ing around the Cape of Good Hope and sig­nalling Sin­ga­pore, a typ­i­cal des­ti­na­tion for fu­el oil car­goes.

Serengeti is mak­ing a transat­lantic cross­ing and sig­nalling its next port as Gibral­tar.

This article was posted in its entirety as received by This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of, its sponsors or advertisers.

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