Three Iranian tankers on the way of Venezuela with sanctioned fuel cargoes
Monday night, the first of three Iranian tankers carrying fuel to Venezuela is scheduled to arrive, showing the Iranian and Venezuelan governments' willingness to bypass American sanctions on a limited basis.
The tanker Forest will arrive at the El Palito refinery near Puerto Cabello sometime on Monday night, carrying with it a shipment of much-needed gasoline for Venezuelan consumers. On October 1 and October 4 , respectively, two more, the Fortune and the Faxon, are scheduled. All three are Iranian-flagged and owned by Iran.
Venezuela, propelled by a combination of tough U.S. sanctions and a long-term downturn in the maintenance of its refineries, is in the midst of a dire fuel shortage.
Along with the Iranian tankers Petunia and Clavel, The Forest, Faxon and Fortune were part of the shipment. The United States added to its travel and banking blacklist the masters of all five ships for their involvement.
The original cargo owners have filed suit in U.S. courts to regain possession of the fuel in this disrupted trade, acknowledging that it is of Iranian origin. The companies, called Mobin International Ltd., Oman Fuel and Sohar Fuel in court filings, said they had purchased and then resold the cargo to a UAE-based firm, Citi Energy FZC.
The U.S. says the fuel is subject to forfeiture, as Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, which the U.S. considers to be a foreign terrorist group, will benefit from the proceeds of the sale.
The Mobin, Oman Fuel and Sohar Fuel websites have been blocked, and the three firms are under federal investigation in relation to the shipment.
Maritime Business World