US Sanctions Two Tankers, Owners for Venezuela Ties

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…As Panama Canal Welcomes Its Largest LNG Tanker to Date***

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has blacklisted two vessels, which transported oil from Venezuela to Cuba, and their respective owners.

The ships in question are the crude oil tanker Ocean Elegance and the chemical and oil tanker Leon Dias. Both vessels delivered crude oil from Venezuela to Cuba from late 2018 through March 2019.

The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also designated the Marshall Islands-based Monsoon Navigation Corporation and Liberia’s Serenity Maritime Limited, the owners of the respective vessels, as subject to sanctions.

The latest additions to the list were made a month after the U.S. Department of the Treasury blacklisted another four shipping companies and nine vessels that operate in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy.

OFAC sanctioned almost the entire fleet of Italy-based PB Tankers, and the crude oil tanker Nedas, owned by Liberia-based Jennifer Navigation. Other units include Lima Shipping Corporation’s crude oil tanker New Hellas and the oil products tanker S-Trotter, owned by Large Range Limited.

Earlier in April 2019, OFAC blacklisted the Liberia-based Ballito Bay Shipping and Greek ProPer In Management, and their 71,600 dwt crude oil tanker Despina Andrianna.

Additionally, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) identified 34 vessels as blocked property of Petroleos de Venezuela (PdVSA), which was blacklisted on January 28, 2019, for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy.

In the meantime, less than three years since its inauguration, the Expanded Panama Canal welcomed Qatargas’ Al Safliya, the first Q-Flex and the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier to ever transit the waterway.

The tanker, which has an overall cargo capacity of 210,000 cbm of LNG, transited northbound from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean on May 12, 2019.

Featuring a length of 315 meters and a width of 50 meters, the Bahamas-flagged Al Safliya has a gross tonnage of 137,535 tons.

“This transit reaffirms the Expanded Canal’s ability to reshape world trade and offer customers the benefits of economies of scale,” Jorge L. Quijano, Panama Canal Administrator, commented, adding that the Panama Canal is looking forward to welcoming many more Q-Flex vessels in the future.

Q-Flex LNG tankers can now pass through the Panama Canal following an increase in the maximum allowable beam for vessels transiting the Neopanamax locks.

Implemented in June 2018, the maximum beam allowed is 51.25 meters, up from 49 meters, as measured at the outer surface of a vessel’s shell plate and all protruding structures below the lock walls.

As explained, the milestone transit also underscored the Expanded Canal’s environmental benefits as a result of its ability to help vessels shorten the distance and duration of their trips compared to alternate routes.

In combination with Al Safliya’s Q-Flex class design, which allows for the 40% reduction of emissions in comparison to other gas carriers, the Panama Canal and Qatargas saved nearly 10,000 tons of CO2 emissions compared to alternative routes, directly reducing of global emissions, according to the Panama Canal Authority.

This achievement comes less than a month after the Expanded Canal celebrated its 6,000th Neopanamax vessel transit. The milestone was achieved by another LNG tanker, Energy Liberty, on April 23.

The Panama Canal is expecting to see further growth in its LNG transits following the new beam increase. In 2018, the canal saw 340 LNG transits, up from 181 transits in 2017. So far in 2019, the canal has seen over 100 LNG transits.

World Maritime News