Saturday, October 23rd | 18 Heshvan 5782

May 23, 2020 10:00 am

Tankers Carrying Iranian Fuel Approach the Caribbean

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

People with vehicles wait in line in an attempt to refuel at a gas station of the state oil company PDVSA, in Maracaibo, Venezuela, May 17, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Isaac Urrutia / File.

A flotilla of five tankers carrying Iranian fuel for gasoline-starved Venezuela is approaching the Caribbean, with the first vessel expected to reach the South American country’s waters on Sunday, according to Refinitiv Eikon tracking data.

Iran is supplying about 1.53 million barrels of gasoline and alkylate to Venezuela, according to both governments, sources and calculations made by based on the vessels’ draft levels.

The shipments have caused a diplomatic standoff between Iran, Venezuela and the United States as both nations are under American sanctions. Washington is considering measures in response to the shipments, which the administration believes are being paid with gold, a US official told Reuters last week.

Venezuela’s defense minister said the military will escort the tankers once they reach the nation’s exclusive economic zone.

Related coverage

October 23, 2021 1:58 pm

US Offers $10 million for Colombian Businessman Linked to Venezuela Bribery Scheme

The US State Department on Friday announced a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the arrest...

Iran-flagged tanker Fortune, the first in the flotilla, was approaching the Caribbean Sea on Friday. It has been navigating with its satellite signal on since it passed the Suez Canal earlier in May. The four other vessels are following the same route across the Atlantic Ocean, the Eikon data showed.

The OPEC-member country desperately needs fuel to feed up to 1,800 gasoline stations that have been partially closed for weeks due to insufficient supply from state-run PDVSA’s refineries, which until March worked at about 10% of their joint capacity of 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd).

Venezuela was consuming 170,000 bpd of gasoline before coronavirus-related lockdown measures. Fuel sales at stations declined to about 40,000 bpd due to rationing, according to independent calculations.

Over a decade of mismanagement and lack of staff combined with US sanctions that since 2019 have limited imports have left the refineries in poor condition. Shipments of equipment in flights by Iran‘s Mahar Air have arrived in Venezuela in recent weeks to start repair work.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.