There remain more questions than answers about the Paria Fuel Trading and ES Euro Shipping SA fuel deal which contracted and sent a shipment of fuel destined for Aruba. This after the Aruban government yesterday distanced itself from that deal, telling Guardian Media it did not purchase a shipment of fuel from Trinidad and Tobago.
The issue became contentious after international reports surfaced that ES Euro Shipping SA owner Wilmer Ruperti may have diverted the 150,000-barrel fuel shipment to Venezuela.
However, Aruba, which is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, confirmed, through its embassy here in T&T, that there was no purchase of fuel by them.
The Embassy said, “The purchase of fuel is the autonomous responsibility of the government of Aruba. The Aruban authorities informed the Embassy that they did not purchase a shipment of fuel from Trinidad and Tobago.”
Guardian Media sent questions to the Kingdom of Netherlands through the local Embassy in Port-of-Spain on May 13. In our list of questions, we asked about the state of the Aruban refinery and energy facilities and also where Aruba usually purchases it fuel.
“The refinery in Aruba has been inactive since its shutdown in 2011,” the Embassy said.
As to the source of its fuel supplies, the Embassy responded, “These days, Aruba purchases its fuel from the US Gulf Coast.”
The Embassy admitted to being aware of the current issue being debated internationally and in T&T on the matter.
“The Kingdom of the Netherlands is aware of the reports that a shipment of fuel may have been rerouted to Venezuela. As stated, the Aruban authorities have not purchased shipments of fuel from Trinidad and Tobago,” the Embassy said.
It made it clear that the “Venezuelan company PDVSA shows no interest in the Aruban refinery.”
ES Euro Shipping is wholly-owned by Ruperti, a Venezuelan shipping tycoon with close ties to embattled Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro. Ruperti has been accused previously of rerouting fuel shipments to Venezuela.
Paria Fuel Trading chairman Newman George and the company have both claimed all due diligence was completed and it only became aware of the possibility by time the ship was loaded with the fuel on April 21 but only after it was circulated in the public domain that the shipment was in Aruba that the company ES Euro Shipping produced a redacted bill of sale from an Aruban company.