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US Slaps Sanctions on Four Entities, Four Tankers Over Ties With Venezuela

© AP Photo / Patrick SemanskyThe U.S. Treasury Department building at dusk, Thursday, June 6, 2019, in Washington.
The U.S. Treasury Department building at dusk, Thursday, June 6, 2019, in Washington. - Sputnik International
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Recently, Venezuela received a large tanker shipment of gasoline from Iran, another country under US sanctions, amid domestic fuel shortages. At the same time, US media reports suggested that several tankers carrying Iranian oil turned away from the Latin American state due to pressure from Washington on their owners.

The US Treasury has slapped sanctions on four entities, one registered in Greece and three more in the Marshall Islands, as well as four tankers belonging to these companies, over their alleged assistance to Venezuela’s oil trade. 

The three Marshall Islands-registered companies affected by the new sanctions are Afranav Maritime, Adamant Maritime, and Sanibel Shiptrade, with their respective tankers being the Athens Voyager, the Seahero, and the Voyager I.The new economic measures also affected Greece’s Seacomber LTD, along with its tanker the Chios I.

The properties and assets of the companies in the US, if there are any, will be blocked and American citizens will no longer be able to deal with these entities without the threat of falling under sanctions. The sanctions will be lifted if the firms provide proof of "a positive change of behaviour".

In its press release, the Treasury condemned Caracas for enlisting companies to renew its oil trade and using the country's natural resources to purportedly continue "the suffering of the Venezuelan people".

Burden of US Sanctions

Currently, the "Venezuelan people", mentioned in the US Treasury's statement, are suffering from country-wide fuel shortages despite the nation possessing one of the largest oil reserves in the world. The shortages began recently as Venezuelan refineries lost most of their capacity to produce fuel from the extremely heavy blend of crude extracted there.

Iranian tanker Faxon is being escorted by Venezuelan Navy ships - Sputnik International
Last Iranian Tanker With Gasoline Docks in Venezuela Despite US Opposition

Refineries require sophisticated equipment and materials to process such a heavy oil blend into gasoline, but Venezuela’s refineries have lost their ability to buy this due to the US sanctions on Caracas. Venezuela recently obtained a large shipment of gasoline and the components required to produce it from another country affected by American sanctions – Iran – despite reported opposition from Washington.

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