Despite Washington’s efforts to choke Venezuela’s oil sector, some Venezuelan crude is still being transported with the help of shipping companies based in the UAE.
According to a report from Reuters, three Emirati firms have shipped millions of barrels of Venezuelan oil since June, when the US sanctioned oil tankers for trading with Caracas.
One of the companies, Muhit Maritime, took over several sanctioned tankers, changed their names, and continued shipping Venezuelan oil.
A State Department spokesperson told Reuters that the US is “closely tracking these kinds of creative efforts by companies to evade sanctions.”
The US has previously accused UAE-based firms of violating US sanctions on Iran. Several Emirati companies have been sanctioned by the US this year over allegations of facilitating the purchase and transportation of Iranian oil.
With both Iran and Venezuela under heavy US sanctions, the two countries are natural trading partners. Iran has been selling gasoline to Venezuela in exchange for gold, a form of payment US sanctions cannot touch.