A tanker built by an Iranian shipyard for Venezuela plans to set sail next month from the Middle Eastern country with a cargo of fuel components for the country, which is facing intermittent gasoline shortages, they told Reuters three sources with knowledge of the deal.
The new vessel is another sign of the growing energy collaboration between the two US-sanctioned nations. Iran and Venezuela they exchange increasingly crude for diluents and fuels that Caracas urgently needs due to the poor state of its refining network.
The agreements gave a boost to the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro. Whom the United States government does not recognize as the country’s leader, by helping him revive the Venezuelan economy after years of recession and hyperinflation.
Tanker built for Venezuela
The Yoraco tanker, type Aframax, is the second ship built by the Sadra shipyard of Iran for Venezuela. As well as two other boats that they were commissioned. Maduro, who visited Tehran last week as part of a tour of the Medium East and Asia, was present at the launching of the Yoraco.
Once the seaworthiness tests of the Yoraco, which has an estimated cost of 60 million euros, are completed, the maritime arm of the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA plans to send a crew to the Iranian port city of Bushehr to command the vessel, said a of the sources.
PDVSA executives are also preparing a charter contract for a shipment of fuel components from Iran. Which is expected to leave in about 35 days, another source said.
PDVSA and Sadra did not respond to requests for comment.
In 2014 they designed a similar boat
The tanker, which is temporarily flying the Iranian flag, had its transmitter turned on this week. And showing it near Bushehr, in the Persian Gulf, according to monitoring data from Refinitiv Eikon.
In 2014, Sadra completed a similar vessel for Venezuela. Originally baptized as Sorocaima. But it was three years before she sailed commercially amid US sanctions on Iran. Same that prevented him from obtaining insurance and classification.
After a lawsuit that retained the tanker in 2019 and several name and owner changes, the ship, now called Colón, is in Venezuelan waters, according to Refinitiv Eikon.
Sadra plans to build two more tankers for Venezuela in the next two years, Iranian and Venezuelan officials said last week as they announced a 20-year cooperation plan in the areas of oil, refining, petrochemicals, defense, agriculture, tourism and culture.
During the government of then-president Hugo Chávez, Venezuela ordered more than 40 vessels from shipyards in places from China to Argentina to replace PDVSA’s aging fleet. But only a few were delivered and some were lost due to outstanding debts. (Reporting by Marianna Párraga in Houston and Mircely Guanipa in Maracay, Venezuela. Vivian Sequera edition.)
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