Another Iranian ship has sailed into Venezuela’s territorial waters and is expected to dock in the Latin American country’s ports over the next couple of days, the American media say.
According to a report by the Associated Press on Saturday, the Iranian-flagged freighter Golsan left Shahid Rajaee Port in Iran’s southern city of Bandar Abbas in mid-May and is heading in the direction of Venezuelan shores.
Russ Dallen, head of the Miami-based investment firm Caracas Capital Markets, said the cargo ship “is carrying parts to continue repairing Venezuela’s collapsed refineries.”
Dallen added that the Iranian vessel — sailing at a speed of about 13.1 knots — is expected to anchor in Venezuelan ports on Sunday or Monday. The ship approached Caribbean waters on Friday following a high-seas journey from Iran.
Earlier in the month, five Iranian oil tankers carrying millions of barrels of gasoline and components entered the ports of the fuel-starved South American country and are now on their way back to Iran.
Caracas says its deep gasoline shortages have eased since the Iranian tankers delivered fuel.
The Reuters news agency reported that Iran may continue to ship fuel to sanctions-hit Venezuela at a rate of about two to three cargoes per month.
“Tehran plans to keep up the shipments, according to five trading and industry sources close to the Oil Ministry,” the news agency said.
Venezuela is grappling with shortages of gasoline due to sanctions unilaterally imposed by the United States not only on Caracas but also on Iran.
Mexico has also expressed willingness to sell gasoline to Venezuela on “humanitarian” grounds if asked, defying United States sanctions against the South American country.
The fuel shipments to Venezuela’s ports and refineries drew the ire of the Trump administration in Washington, which had previously threatened to block new oil tankers between Tehran and Caracas to prevent them from reaching the Venezuelan coast.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had warned of retaliatory measures against the United States should Washington cause problems for tankers carrying Iranian fuel to gasoline-starved Venezuela.
Venezuela sits on the world’s largest oil reserves. The country’s refineries can produce more than 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd) of fuel, but they are working at less than 20% of their capacity mainly due to power outages and lack of spare parts amid the US sanctions.