US Court Approves Sales of Gasoline From Seized Ship

Gasoline was accused of being intended for Venezuela

A legal battle over a shipload of gasoline held in southern Texas had ended with a court approval to sell it to Kolmar Americas for $2.75 million, which is less than half of its current market value. The gasoline at one point was suspected of heading for Venezuela in violation of US sanctions.

The gasoline originated in Panama, and the company that chartered the ship officially was to send it to Aruba. The ship’s owner, however, said they thought the ship was going to transfer the gasoline off-shore to a ship operated by the Venezuelan oil company.

The ship’s owner feared the US would come after him if that happened, and took the ship to Houston. They subsequently seized the gasoline and put it up for auction. The court ruling today just affirmed that the ship’s owner was allowed to take the gasoline, and to sell it.

That it was just one ship’s-worth of gasoline, and the ship’s owner was not a big player in petrochemicals led to few bids, which is why Kolmar Americans got it for below market price. What Kolmar intends to do with the cargo is as yet unclear, but they operate in the petrochemical sector and would be able to safely take the gasoline wherever it needs to be.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of