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Three PDVSA tankers that are late with payments to German operator Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) are being detained, according to Reuters sources, as BSM gives up on waiting for payments while conducting business as usual with floundering state-run PDVSA.
BSM operates almost half of PDVSA’s fleet of tankers, and has made a move to “arrest” three tankers due to the outstanding debt PDVSA has amassed.
BSM and PDVSA have a troubled past, as PDVSA struggles to pay its bills while oil production and exports fall to new lows each month.
In March, BSM announced that it was removing its crews from 10 of these tankers due to a lack of payment, adding that it would return the tankers. PDV Marina—PDVSA’s shipping subsidiary—had declared an emergency following the announcement, saying it did not have the staff to accept the return of the 10 tankers. The amount of outstanding debt at that time was at least $15 million, according to Reuters. Three other tankers remained anchored in Portugal and Curacao while other financial disputes with PDVSA came to light, and BSM abandoned two vessels in Portugal after the staff had been onboard for 20 months.
Mid-March, BSM said it was considering scrapping its agreement with PDVSA entirely as of the end of March or in April due to the sanctions levied against PDVSA. What’s more, BSM said, the political situation in Venezuela made it “an almost impossible task” to manage PDVSA’s assets.
Following that announcement, another ship management firm, US-based McQuilling, announced in March as well that it would end its contracts with PDVSA due to the US Sanctions.
The three tankers BSM arrested are the Arita in Singapore, and the Parnaso and the Rio Arauca in Portugal, according to Reuters.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.