Government officials say there is no information to support reports that this country’s ports are being used by Venezuela’s state oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, SA (PDVSA), to avoid United States sanctions.
This follows a report on the website Lloyd’s Maritime Intelligence that ships appear to be collecting oil cargo in Venezuela before stopping in this country and setting off again. The site said this raised suspicion that cargoes are being hidden and PDVSA is using co-loads and false berthings to disguise cargo origins in an effort to avoid US sanctions.
However, according to the Maritime Services Division of the Works and Transport Ministry, only one vessel, Mindoro, called at Chaguaramas on March 23. This appears to contradict the online report which suggests that three tankers belonging to PDVSA loaded oil cargoes in Venezuela then diverted to areas close to T&T for several hours.
Energy Minister Franklin Khan said he asked the Director of Maritime Services to check into the matter. He was told that based on their computerised arrival system, there is no record of the two other vessels mentioned in the report ever berthing in Trinidad. The report from the Division says based on their records, the lone vessel which arrived last month visited for supplies and departed on the same day.
A well-placed government source also questioned the reporting saying it provided no evidence to show that bills of lading were being changed.