Fearing US sanctions, Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras says it will not deal with ships that operated in Venezuela over the past year.
“We have recently reinforced to our suppliers we would not accept offers from ships that had operated in Venezuela during the sanctions period (12 months),” the company told Reuters, adding that it amended its shipping contracts to avoid breaking US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations.
Washington, which seeks to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, has long tried to choke off the Latin American nation’s oil sector – the country’s main source of revenue. Apart from targeting state-run oil major PDVSA, the US has also blacklisted vessels transporting Venezuelan crude.
After slapping four shipping firms with sanctions last week, the Trump administration is reportedly considering adding dozens of additional foreign vessels to the list for trading with Caracas. The threat of new sanctions has already forced some tankers sailing towards Venezuelan shores to turn around, Reuters earlier reported.
Last month, another nation under US sanctions, Iran, dispatched a flotilla of five tankers to deliver much-needed fuel to Venezuela. While the ships were still at sea, Caracas claimed that they faced “the threat of imminent use of military force” by the US Navy. Washington did not explicitly say that it wanted to intercept the ships, but warned countries along the route against giving any assistance. The last of the five vessels arrived in Venezuela last week, with Tehran saying it is ready to send more oil if Caracas asks for it.
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