US probes T&T fuel shipment linked to Venezuela

Any nation that assists Venezuela in avoiding embargoes will face sweeping sanctions imposed by the United States.

The warning comes from the US government after it became aware of reports that a shipment of Paria Fuel Trading Company fuel that left Trinidad and Tobago’s shores for Aruba may have eventually been sent to Venezuela in defiance of US sanctions against that country.

The Aruban refinery is linked to Citgo, a subsidiary of the Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA and reports surfaced last week that the fuel cargo was shipped to Venezuala after it arrived in Aruba.

“In general, entities and individuals risk exposure to US sanctions by operating in the Venezuelan oil sector,” the US Embassy’s Public Affairs Section said.

“This remains true regardless of how the transactions with Venezuela are conducted, whether using currency or in-kind exchanges and without respect to whether such conduct is otherwise legal under another country’s laws.”

The US had imposed sanctions on the Russian owned Rosneft Trading S.A and its subsidiary, the Swiss-based TNK Trading International, back in March for supporting Maduro. The US has also imposed sanctions on Cuban company Cubametales and its parent company Corporacion Panamericana and the Italian-owned PB Tankers for operating in the Venezuelan energy sector.

On April 21, a shipment of excess fuel left Pointe-a Pierre and was sold and shipped to Aruba.

The Aruban refinery has been mothballed since 2012 and was only recently transferred from PDVSA to the Aruban government after US sanctions dried up credit lines for the Venezuelan company. There have been unsubstantiated reports coming out of Venezuelan media that the fuel was bound for Venezuela.

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