Local P&I Club correspondents report that tanker terminals in Venezuela are still operating despite the nationwide demonstrations against President Maduro.
However, according to North P&I Club the US sanctions (see below) against Venezuela have led to a build-up of tanker traffic in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.
Refiners who ordered oil from Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA are unclear about where to deposit payment.
Until the issue has been resolved tankers laden with Venezuelan crude are being held offshore awaiting instructions. There are also tankers with Venezuelan crude idling in the Caribbean and in European waters.
These have cargoes for Venezuela from the US, or are empty have been on voyages to load in Venezuela.
The situation in the ports remains unchanged. According to local reports, most ports are state-owned and have been run by the military for some time, although this has not stopped reports of operational difficulties.
Juan Guaidó, the 33-year old opposition leader, is reported to be having clandestine meetings with the military which is seen as the key element in any attempt to remove President Maduro.
US President Trump is supporting Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president of Venezuela and on 25 January 2019 President Trump issued an executive order to the effect that Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) is included in the definition of “Government of Venezuela” which brings it and its subsidiary in the US, Citgo, under the list of sanction-like blocking orders.
This and other political moves place PDVSA under notice of blocking measures against US persons or entities dealing with the company. West of England P&I Club reports the cut-off dates before the blocking measure are enforced as:
In other news, it is also reported that in Q4 2018, three tankers had their cargoes seized 'in the public interest' by Venezuelan authorities after operators withdrew the vessels from ports due to payment failures.
If the US cuts off relationships with Venezuela, will there be a boom in Asian tanker tonne-mile demand as it seeks resources elsewhere? Discuss this and other tanker matters at the Asian Tanker Conference in Singapore