The lead vessel of a five-tanker flotilla carrying fuel supplied by Iran to Venezuela neared one of state-run PDVSA’s ports as President Nicolas Maduro thanked Tehran.
Iran is providing Venezuela with 1.53 million barrels of gasoline and components, according to the governments, sources and calculations by TankerTrackers.com.
Tanker Fortune was due to arrive at PDVSA’s El Palito port, close to the capital Caracas, according to a company source and Refinitiv Eikon data showing its trajectory. A second vessel, the Forest, entered the Caribbean Sea on Saturday. The three remaining vessels were crossing the Atlantic.
“Venezuela and Iran both want peace, and we have the right to trade freely,” Maduro said in a state television address on Sunday, Reuters reported.
Maduro referred to the two countries as “revolutionary peoples who will never kneel down before the North American empire.”
The Trump administration said earlier this month it was considering “measures” to take in response to the shipments, without providing specifics.
Venezuela’s refining network has been operating this year at about 10% of its 1.3 million-barrel-per-day capacity, forcing it to rely on imports. US sanctions limit the sources and types of fuel it can receive.
Maduro said the tankers were bringing gasoline and inputs to its refineries to produce gasoline.
Washington has steadily hardened sanctions on PDVSA as part of its effort to oust Maduro.