John Ollett of global energy and commodity price reporting agency Argus Media on Wednesday (16 June) published a report highlighting potential political complications of a recent oil spill from tanker Aldan:
The Spanish government has detained an oil tanker for allegedly spilling a large quantity of hydrocarbons in the Atlantic off the Canary Islands. The Aldan’s most recent port of call may have been in Venezuela.
Spain’s transport ministry Mitma said the Liberia-flagged Aldan is being held in the port of Almeria after a spill that spread across a 55km² area.
“The ship will remain detained until its managers proceed to deposit the fixed bond,” Mitma said. “Given the seriousness of the events, they could face one of the highest sanctions imposed so far.”
The Aldan’s ultimate owner is probably Muhit Maritime FZE, which is headquartered in the Jebel Ali Free Zone, UAE, according to IMO registration documents.
It is unclear what the tanker was carrying. Last month it loaded 150,000 bl of gasoline on behalf of Switzerland-based ES Euro Shipping from Trinidad’s state-owned Paria Fuel Trading, and was bound for Aruba. But multiple shipping sources said that it instead entered Venezuelan waters. Venezeula is suffering an acute gasoline shortage. If the Aldan did call at a Venezuelan port, there is a possibility it could be carrying that country’s heavy crude or fuel oil.
Oil trade with Venezuela brings acute political sensitivities, because of US sanctions that were imposed by Washington in January 2019. Most of Venezuela’s crude exports end up in China’s Shandong province, home to much of that country’s independent refining sector, but even this could be shut off by Beijing’s recent imposition of a new import tax.
Photo credit and source: Argus Media
Published: 21 June, 2021
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