The American P&I Club issued a report, informing that several oil leaks, in the last year, resulted in delays in the loading and discharging of vessels at the key Venezuelan ports of Bajo Grande and Jose. Maritime laws prohibit oil-stained tankers from navigating international waters, until hull cleaning is performed.
According to American Club, at the moment, approximately a dozen tankers (several from state-run PDVSA’s fleet of owned and chartered vessels) are anchored in the Caribbean Sea, unable to reach their final destination, as PDVSA cannot pay for the hull cleaning of vessels stained by these oil leaks.
Meanwhile, as PDVSA’s debts to cleaning firms grow, the conditions giving rise to these leaks have not been remedied, causing future problems for vessels trading in and around Venezuela. Most recently, a crude spill at the port of Jose, in January 2017, stained more tankers, this time affecting vessels waiting to load crude oil for export.
The Club recommends that Members calling at Venezuelan ports take the following preventive measures to delays or other potential exposures or expenses arising from these circumstances:
- They should promptly contact the Club’s correspondents for assistance if they encounter pollution in these ports.
- They should consult with charterers regarding alternative arrangements for private cleaning, if needed.
- In the context both of existing fixtures and of potential fixtures involving Venezuelan ports (and the region in general), special attention and care should be given to charterparty terms, which address responsibility for hull cleaning, related expenses and/or attendant delays should a chartered vessel be soiled due to pollution.
Source: The American P&I Club