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4th Tanker Carrying Iranian Fuel Enters Venezuelan Waters

4th Tanker Carrying Iranian Fuel Enters Venezuelan Waters

Thursday, 28 May, 2020 - 17:15
The Iranian tanker ship Fortune is seen at El Palito refinery dock in Puerto Cabello. Reuters file photo

A fourth tanker loaded with gasoline sent from Iran entered Venezuelan waters late on Wednesday as the first three prepared to discharge at the country's ports, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

Iran is providing up to 1.53 million barrels of gasoline and refining components to help Venezuela ease an acute shortage, the result of the near-complete breakdown in its refining network and US sanctions on its oil industry. Washington has criticized the arrangement, as both OPEC nations are sanctioned.

The Eikon data showed that the Faxon, the fourth in the five-tanker flotilla, was passing north of eastern Venezuela's Sucre state as of 11:49 p.m. local time Wednesday night. It has not transmitted its location since then.

The Faxon had followed a similar path as the first three tankers, which began arriving last weekend. The Fortune was docked at a port at the El Palito refinery in central Venezuela, and the Petunia was anchored nearby. The Forest was docked at a port at the western Cardon refinery.

The tankers' unimpeded arrival in Venezuelan waters came despite warnings by US officials that Washington was considering a response to the fuel shipment, prompting a complaint from Iran to the United Nations. A fifth tanker, the Clavel, was still crossing the Atlantic Ocean toward the Caribbean.

The fuel from Iran also came at a time when the shortage of gasoline, chronic for years in some parts of Venezuela, has worsened in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world, but its production is in freefall, a collapse that experts attribute to failed policies, lack of investment and corruption.

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