Iranian-Flagged Ship Arrives in Venezuela Again Despite US Pressure, Tracking Data Suggests

09 Jan 2021

Iranian-Flagged Ship Arrives in Venezuela Again Despite US Pressure, Tracking Data Suggests

By Aleksandra Serebriakova

January 9, 2021



Venezuela and Iran, two nations which have been heavily targeted by US sanctions, have maintained their close cooperation in the fuel sector. Tehran has been sending ships to the South American nation to bring gasoline supplies or load them with Venezuelan crude for future exports.

An Iranian-flagged ship made its way to the Venezuelan port of La Guaira this week, Reuters reported, citing vessel tracking data provided by Refinitiv Eikon analytical firm.

The Golsan, a cargo ship which had reportedly entered port on Thursday, was spotted leaving Iran in November. However, it remains unclear what is on board the vessel, which is owned by Mosakhar Darya Shipping Co.

The information was not confirmed by Venezuela’s ministry of information when approached by the media.

Back in July, the Golsan came to Venezuela from Iran loaded with food in a bid to supply the country’s first Iranian supermarket. It later made its way back to the Republic with alumina powder on board, a substance used to produce aluminium metal.

The two countries, both members of OPEC, have been in close commercial cooperation over the past year. Iran has been sending its fuel-loaded tankers to Venezuela in exchange for gold and also to load them with Venezuelan crude oil, for shipment to other countries.

In December, it was reported that National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) had sent a Palau-flagged vessel to Jose, a Venezuelan port, to load it with 1.9 mln bbl of oil from Venezuela's state-owned PdVSA that was designated as a shipper in the transaction.

Both Iran and Venezuela have been under extreme sanctions pressure from Washington. In January 2019, the US Treasury Department subjected PdVSA to sanctions, effectively prohibiting American firms from engaging in transitions with the company.

In 2020, Washington punished Russia’s Rosneft Oil Company and four other foreign shippers for conducting business with the oil giant. But Iran, which has long been a target of American economic pressure and an arms embargo, has only been ramping up ties with Venezuela, in defiance of US sanctions.