10 Percent of Global Oil Tankers Linked to Venezuela Trade

Ship-to-ship transfers meant to cover up involvement

Tracking data from Venezuela’s PDVSA has shown the means by which Venezuela continues to trade oil despite US sanctions forbidding them from doing so. It involves a lot of oil tankers, nearly 10% of all the tankers on the planet.

There is a great deal of risk in being caught violating US sanctions, which is why despite the vast number of ships involved, very few are directly interacting with Venezuela. Most are trying to get involved only indirectly, using ship-to-ship transfers to mask their involvement.

It’s not a one-off deal either. In the coming weeks, at least 18 oil tankers are expected to load oil from Venezuela directly. When they head off, they’ll be likely using the same kinds of transfers to make it hard to track where the oil is.

US sanctions and threats have brought Venezuelan exports down to the level of 1942. The US envisioned imposing regime change, and while that never happened, they’ve maintained the sanctions and threatened anyone who does business with Venezuela against America’s will. Clearly this is changing tactics, but not stopping trade.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.