As reported by Reuters – Polish energy company Orlen, taking advantage of the temporary suspension of sanctions imposed on Venezuela, is brokering oil from that country and has “pre-chartered” a supertanker to load Venezuelan oil destined for China. This is supposed to be unofficial information based on reports from one shipbroker (broker) and information from a ship tracking service.
A very large crude oil tanker – a VLCC-class vessel – named Olympic Trophy (IMO No 9445461; GT 170 611; deadweight 320 159 t; displacement 370 513 t) was to be chartered for $13 million. Worded this way, it most likely means a voyage charter, not a time charter.
According to information provided by an undisclosed source and ship tracking data on Kpler by Reuters, the ship is expected to take on cargo in early December.
The ship was built in 2010 at the Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd shipyard in Ulsan as a Very Large Ore Carrier (VLOC) and converted to a VLCC-class crude oil tanker in 2014 in Oman.
The managing shipowner and operator of the VLCC Olympic Trophy is Olympic Shipping & Management, a subsidiary of the ship’s shipowner (owner), the Onassis Group, a company controlled by the Onassis family – the heirs to the fortune and continuing shipping business of the famous, not least as a tanker owner, shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.
Tankers of the VLCC size class occasionally appear in the Baltic and in Gdansk – at the jetties of Naftoport in the Northern Port, but due to draught restrictions, mainly in the Danish Straits – only partially loaded.
It was also revealed earlier that Vitol – the world’s largest independent oil trader – chartered another supertanker in November to load Venezuelan crude to China. Trader Trafigura also chartered a vessel to carry Venezuelan fuel oil for export, which was just being loaded, according to a 20 November news release.
Last month, The U.S. Treasury Department issued a blanket licence lifting sanctions on Venezuelan oil production and exports until April, prompting trading houses to make their first cargo purchases from little-known brokers registered as clients of state-owned PDVSA, according to Reuters.
Government officials in Washington have said they want to look at progress towards transparent presidential elections in Venezuela, as well as the release of political prisoners by 30 November. If there are irregularities or Venezuela fails to meet the conditions – the U.S. could re-impose sanctions or, more specifically, end their suspension.
Photo: Asyard Drydock (Oman Drydock Company)