The U.S. Treasury Department announced on Tuesday new sanctions against Nicolas Maduro’s regime, with the introduction of six crude transport ships of the state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) on the list of so-called Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
Those sanctioned are the Panamanian-flagged oil tanker Ícaro; and those under the Venezuelan flag: Luisa Cáceres de Arismendi, Manuela Sáenz, Paramaconi, Terepaima and Yare.
The full communiqué follows:
Today, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury identified six vessels as blocked property of Petróleos de Venezuela, SA (PdVSA) pursuant to Executive Order (EO) 13884, which blocks the ownership and interests in the property of the Government of Venezuela. In addition, OFAC identified the Esperanza ship as the blocked property of Caroil Transport Marine Ltd., which was designated on September 24, 2019, pursuant to EO 13850 to operate in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy. El Esperanza was previously listed as Nedas on the List of Specially Designated Citizens and Blocked Persons, which was identified as blocked property on 12 April 2019.
“Cuba and the former Maduro regime continue to try to evade sanctions by changing ship names and facilitating the movement of oil from Venezuela to Cuba,” said Treasury Undersecretary Justin Muzinich. “The United States will continue to take the necessary measures to protect the people of Venezuela.
Today’s action points even more to the corruption of Maduro’s former regime in the oil sector and the mechanisms used to transport oil to the Cuban regime in exchange for security assistance and intelligence, which is one of the remaining sources of support for Maduro’s illegitimate former regime in Venezuela. It also shows Maduro’s priorities: to provide crude oil to the Cuban dictatorship, while the people in Venezuela go hungry.
The following vessels are all crude oil tankers/pDVSA products that have recently delivered Venezuelan oil products to Cuba:
Icaro (IMO 9038842)
Luisa Cáceres de Arismendi (OMI 9117578)
Manuela Sáenz (IMO 9117492)
Paramaconi (IMO 9543512)
Terepaima (IMO 9552496)
Yare (OMI 9543500)
Venezuela and Cuba facilitate the movement of PdVSA oil from Venezuela to Cuba and avoid sanctions by changing ship names. In the fall of 2019, Cuban officials were aware of the departure from Venezuela to Cuba of several vessels loaded with Venezuelan oil. These vessels included Esperanza, Luisa Cáceres De Arismendi, Manuela Sáenz, Paramaconi, Terepaima and Yare. During this same period, PdVSA billed Cubametales, the Cuban state oil import and export company, for approximately 1.3 million barrels of fuel oil delivered in early summer 2019. On July 3, 2019, OFAC appointed Cubametales, in accordance with EO 13850, as amended, to operate in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy. The ships used to ship the oil were the Yare, Esperanza, Terepaima and Icaro . The money received from the shipments was to be transferred to a Russian bank account.
OFAC regulations generally prohibit all transactions conducted by U.S. persons or within (or in transit through) the United States involving any property or interest in the property of blocked or designated persons.