US Treasury Department removes sanctions on Italian tanker owner

PB Tankers' oil/chemical tanker Silver Point Image: MarineTraffic.com/Peter Beentjes PB Tankers' oil/chemical tanker Silver Point

The US Department of the Treasury said in a press release dated July 3 that its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has removed Italian shipowner PB Tankers from its list of entities facing sanctions for transporting oil to and from Venezuela.

The company had been designated by OFAC in April as "operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy" for transporting Venezuelan-produced oil imported by Cuba's state-owned petroleum company Cubametales. As a part of this designation, six vessels were identified as blocked property in the interest of PB Tankers.

The OFAC said that Cuba, in exchange for the oil, had continued to provide support, including defence, intelligence, and security assistance, to President Nicolas Maduro's regime, which officials in Washington claim is "illegitimate."

The delisting of PB Tankers comes after the company terminated its charter agreement with Cubametales and took additional steps to ensure its vessels were not involved in providing support to the Maduro government.

As a result of the delisting, all property and interests in property, which had been blocked as a result of PB Tankers' designation, are unblocked, and all otherwise lawful transactions involving US persons and PB Tankers are no longer prohibited, the treasury department press release added.

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