Venezuela’s Millions in Debt to Russia Led to Confiscation of Oil Cargo

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Apr 18, 2017, 1:49 pm
pdvsa - venezuela
Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA has been racking up debts around the world (El Ají).


Russia is losing patience with ally Venezuela because of the country’s million-dollar debt. Russia confiscated an oil tanker that belonged to the state-owned oil companhy PDVSA because Maduro’s regime owes Russia USD $30 million.

According to the Reuters news agency, in October, Venezuela sent an oil tanker to the Caribbean with the expectation that its cargo would earn about USD $20 million. However, the owners of the vessel Aframax NS Columbus (which is part of the fleet of Russian state conglomerate Sovcomflot) seized the oil.

The legal decision made in March by a San Martín island court states: “They have claims for bills unpaid by PDVSA related to the rental of their boats.”

Although the oil on board had already been sold to the Norwegian company Statoil, the cargo was being transported in a tanker that sailed with a shipping document under the name of PDVSA.


The dispute with Sovcomflot reveals how shipping companies are becoming increasingly aggressive when they collect debts from PDVSA.

According to Reuters,

“Its tangled debt network is expanding all over the world, from shipyard repairs in Portugal and mid-ship shipbuilding bills in Iran and Brazil to a shipment of crude oil seized in the small island of St. Eustatius, whose strategic location in the Caribbean became a commercial port in the eighteenth century.”

This is not the first time that PDVSA is affected by the debts it maintains with its suppliers. In September, a vessel owned by the Venezuelan state-owned company was held in Curacao under a court order requested by service company Core Laboratories due to the accumulation of outstanding debts.

In a nutshell, according to economist Steve Hank, PDVSA has become the worst oil company in the world.

Source: Reuters

Sabrina Martín Sabrina Martín

Sabrina Martín is a Venezuelan journalist, commentator, and editor based in Valencia with experience in corporate communication. Follow @SabrinaMartinR.

Public Employees in Venezuela Threatened with Treason Charges if They Attend Opposition March

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Apr 18, 2017, 12:39 pm

EspañolState employees are feeling pressure from the Venezuelan militia to attend marches in favor of President Nicolás Maduro's administration Wednesday, April 19. Local media reported that militia members who are employed in public offices such as ministries and city halls are all but forcing employees to attend mobilizations around the country's ruling party. Froilan Barrios, Coordinator of the Autonomous Front for the Defense of Employment, Salary and Labor Unions, said employees of the state-owned PDVSA as well as companies that provided basic services have spoken out against harrasment they are experiencing from militia members. He said the government is trying to ensure that the turn out of civil servants and workers is as big as it can possibly be, and is therefore reinforcing workplace pressure in the public sector, which employs around three million people. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); });   Employees have been reportedly threatened with termination, as well as treason. "Antagonism im the workplace goes so far as to threaten the employee who is found assisting the opposition march with accusations of treason, in addition to taking away their job." An employee from an another institution said: "A traffic accident left me disabled and at work I was exempt from participating in the government's actions. Now my boss demands that I be absent on Wednesday. The fact I am in a wheelchair did not touch him at all." The UN rejects an armed militia The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned President Maduro's decision to provide weapons to civilians. Spokesman Rupert Colville said such action would only exacerbate tension and conflict in Venezuela. "The more guns on the street, the more likely they can be used," Colville said. "Giving guns to civilians is a high risk." The UN representative reminded the Venezuelan government of the importance of respecting the universal human right to protest peacefully. "We reiterate to the government that there should not be massive or indiscriminate arrests and that the executive must do everything it can to appease tension." "The situation is very volatile and any violent death must be investigated in a thorough and impartial manner," he reiterated, referring to the six violent deaths that occurred recently. The statements made by the UN spokesman come in response to Maduro's announcement that a plan has been approved to expand the Bolivarian Militia to 500,000 members, armed with guns and deployed in all areas for the defense of the country. This is not the first time that Maduro has discussed giving Venezuelan civilians without military experience access to firearms to defend Chavez's legacy. On January 17, the president said he was preparing a "secret war armament" for certain Venezuelan neighborhoods. Sources: La Patilla; El Nacional

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