Dryad Global reports the fleet, in defiance of US sanctions, is being sent to help the beleaguered South American country ride out an acute fuel shortage.
The irony of the situation can’t be lost on the oil industry and other informed observers.
Venezuela has the world’s largest reserves of heavy crude and at one time could boast of having the globe’s lowest domestic fuel prices, yet decades of mismanagement, corruption and underinvestment have brought the once prosperous country to its knees and in need of a helping hand from Iran, who has sent a large fleet to South America.
The 10 vessels currently at sea, like previous fleets, may resort to tactics of subterfuge to avoid detection by US patrols, such as turning off their transponders and overpainting their ship’s names.
With the Maduro regime rapidly running out of hard currency, Venezuela is also desperate to export whatever crude it can. Any cash generated would need to be immediately re-invested in her own refineries in order to kick-start domestic fuel production. Those that know Venezuela can’t help feeling they are seeing the dying throes, of a dying regime.