To prevent an environmental disaster, PDVSA would have to transfer crude off the tanker’s cargo to another vessel in a risky ship-to-ship transfer. ", This week, lawmakers from the Commission of Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change of the Venezuelan National Assembly called on PDVSA and Eni to unload barrels from the vessel "as soon as possible.". The Greek-owned tanker Bella, one of four ships from which the US hijacked oil bound for Venezuela. Adding to concerns, Venezuela's socialist government has said nothing publicly about its plans for the container. New photos of the vessel show it appearing to tilt heavily on its side — leading to growing concerns of a potential environmental disaster that threatens one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the world. PDVSA has previously denied that the ship poses any threat. The vessel has been stranded in the gulf since January 2019. An Eni spokesperson told Reuters that the company was seeking to offload crude oil from the vessel but was waiting for the "green light" from the U.S. government "in order to prevent any sanctions risk. On Friday, the U.S. Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago also said PDVSA has "a responsibility to take action to avoid an environmental disaster in Venezuelan waters," which it warned would also harm people in nearby countries. ", Hernández said that "no sanctions" could prevent the companies from transferring crude oil, calling it a "cheap excuse. However, anti-government oil workers like Eudis Girot, head of the Unitary Federation of Petroleum Workers of Venezuela, has launched a campaign seeking to get President Nicolás Maduro to pay attention. It was used as a stationary platform anchored in the Gulf of … "The company will be able to proceed only after approval of its plan by PDVSA (majority shareholder and operator in Petrosucre) and upon formal assurance by the competent U.S. authorities that the mentioned activities bring no sanctions risk either for Eni and its contractors. After years of neglect, the FSO Nabarima, a rusting hulk full of thick crude, is in a dangerous state of disrepair. Sophie Lewis is a social media producer and trending writer for CBS News, focusing on space and climate change. In 2008, crude oil production in Venezuela was the tenth-highest in the world at 2,394,020 barrels per day (380,619 m 3 /d) and the country was also the eighth-largest net oil exporter in the world. CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The sight of a huge oil tanker that has taken on water and is leaning to one side off a remote stretch of Venezuela's coast has triggered international calls for action. Associated Press writer Joshua Goodman reported this story from Miami and AP writer Scott Smith reported in Caracas, Venezuela. The Venezuelan-flagged Nabarima is a 264-meter (866-foot) long ship believed to be almost filled to its capacity of 1.4 million barrels of crude — about five times the amount the Exxon Valdez spilled in 1989. The vessel is part of a joint venture between Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and Italy's Eni SpA. But it has fallen inactive with the recent plunge in global energy demand due to the coronavirus pandemic and to U.S. sanctions on Maduro’s government that have scared away potential buyers of the country's heavy crude. The damaged tanker, which is in the waters separating Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago, and is owned by Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), threatens to spill 1.3 million barrels of crude oil into the water. But U.S. sanctions that ban Americans from doing business with Venezuela could scare off many foreign companies from getting involved. U.S. Extends Sanctions on Venezuelan Oil Including Six Tankers By The Maritime Executive 01-21-2021 03:01:16 In one of its final actions, the Trump administration extended the … Today it dangerously leans more than 5 degrees on its right side, the executive said. The Ndros was a Palau-flagged ship that was scrapped … Palau is asking Venezuela to investigate the vessel that claimed last month to be the Ndros. In a press release, the president of the commission, María Gabriela Hernández Del Castillo, said that the tanker is now tilting more than what the group reported in August, when the head of the Unitary Federation of Petroleum Workers of Venezuela reported that the vessel had about nine feet of water flooding the lower decks. “If this oil remains in this ship we run the risk of a tragedy and ecological catastrophe at any moment.”. This is the second recent maritime emergency for Venezuela after a spill at the El Palito refinery last month coated in crude a 9-mile stretch of pristine Caribbean beaches a few hours from the capital of Caracas. Venezuela has said that its air and navy forces will escort Iranian oil tankers arriving with much-needed fuel after Tehran warned of 'consequences' if the US tried to intercept the ships. While the full extent of the damage is unknown, if not repaired soon it could sink and spell environmental disaster, polluting turquoise seas along the vast coastline of Venezuela and several neighboring Caribbean nations, government critics and maritime experts say. He said he is ready to retract his statements and let Maduro throw him into jail if he turns out to be wrong. FILE PHOTO: An oil tanker is docked while oil is pumped into it at the ships terminal of PDVSA's Jose Antonio Anzoategui industrial complex in the state of Anzoategui April 15, 2015. CARACAS, Venezuela -- The sight of a huge oil tanker that has taken on water and is leaning to one side off a remote stretch of Venezuela's coast has triggered international calls for action. According to local politicians and activist groups, the Nabarima is carrying about 1.3 million barrels of crude oil — about five times the amount the Exxon Valdez famously spilled in 1989. The tanker flotilla is reportedly carrying about 1.53 million barrels of gasoline and alkylate to Venezuela. The tanker arrived at the port of Jose last week to lend 1.9 million barrels of oil for sale in Asia, according to Reuters. This triangulated trade in Venezuelan oil is now in the crosshairs of the Trump administration. The Venezuelan-flagged Nabarima is a 264-meter (866-foot) long ship believed to be almost filled to its capacity of 1.4 million barrels of crude — about five times the amount the Exxon Valdez spilled in 1989. It was used as a stationary platform anchored in the Gulf of Paria designed to help export the OPEC nation's oil. Turn on desktop notifications for breaking stories about interest? “By God, I hope I am wrong.”. No one is doing anything," Aboud says, with the tilting vessel behind him. Ian Ralby, the founder of the maritime security firm I.R. However, the Italian oil firm Eni, which operates the Petrosucre joint venture as a minority partner with PDVSA, said in a statement Wednesday that there is currently no risk of an oil spill. The Venezuelan-flagged Nabarima is a 264-meter (866-foot) long ship believed to be almost filled to its capacity of 1.4 million barrels of crude — about five times the amount the Exxon Valdez spilled in 1989. A source at state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that was the case and said the company planned to assist with the cleanup. 24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events. The situation has raised alarm in Trinidad and the nearby Dutch Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, said a second industry executive, who also insisted on speaking anonymously because they weren't authorized to discuss the matter publicly. He has also posted three photos of what he said is the ship's flooded engine room. The ship has been stranded in the Gulf since January 2019. Venezuela is one of the world's largest exporters of oil and has the world's largest proven oil reserves at an estimated 296.5 billion barrels (20% of global reserves) as of 2012. As a union leader, Girot talks frequently with workers for Petrosucre who risk their lives boarding the Nabarima and report back what they see. Go out there. Copyright © 2021 CBS Interactive Inc. All rights reserved. In a record-breaking hurricane season, a massive oil spill would threaten the entirety of the southern Caribbean. October 22, 2020 / 7:24 AM "These are not false images. Consilium, compared the Venezuelan tanker to the FSO Safer, which has been decaying for years off the coast of Yemen with more than 1 million barrels of oil. Critics of President Nicolas Maduro and maritime experts say the FSO Nabarima is taking on water and could sink. SE HUNDE NABARIMA es una plataforma de almacenamiento tiene 1300000 bls de petroleo a bordo a punto de derramarse y causar una terrible catástrofe mundial desde golfo de Paria y el Caribe.Condiciones paupérrimas y profundo deterioro, cubierta inferior y equipos 3 mts bajo agua pic.twitter.com/U5WQZM2GPs. In September, Pedro Figuera, the state oil company's offshore executive director, tweeted that Nabarima complied with environmental protection procedures. “This may seem like little more than a leaking pipe, far away in Venezuela," Ralby said. Venezuela boosted its crude oil exports nearly threefold in November to more than 500,000 barrels per day (bpd), including by hiding the true identity of tankers to avoid detection Avoid preventive pain relievers before getting a COVID vaccine: Experts, DHS uses alert system for 1st time in a year to warn of domestic terrorism threat, Gambling Reddit users upended the stock market -- and made millions overnight, Remembering Christina Mauser one year after she died in crash that killed Kobe Bryant, 70-year-old man at-large after allegedly killing 2 duck hunters, JOSHUA GOODMAN and SCOTT SMITH Associated Press, This satellite image released by Maxar Technologies shows the FSO Nabarima oil tanker off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020. According to PDVSA documents, the giant oil tanker flying the Iranian flag arrived at the Jose oil port in Venezuela this month carrying 2.1 million barrels of Iranian condensate for use in reducing Venezuela’s production of very heavy oil. A huge coral reef system, already stressed by climate change, could be damaged beyond recovery — eventually leading to a collapse of the entire marine ecosystem. The US government sanctions both Iran and Venezuela, including their oil industries. The Nabarima floating storage and offloading (FSO) facility, operated by the Petrosucre joint venture between Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela and Italy's Eni, is seen tilted in the Paria Gulf, between Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago, October 16, 2020. Take a helicopter. A Venezuelan oil tanker has been parked for nearly two years in the Gulf of Paria, carrying approximately 80 million gallons of oil. "Our cries have gone unanswered and it appears that the Nabarima's situation is worsening daily," the organization wrote on Facebook. Since January 2019, Venezuelan state-owned oil and gas company PdVSA has been designated as subject to US sanctions, with the Treasury Department effectively blocking the company’s property and banning its transactions with American citizens, making it difficult for the nation to find shipowners willing to help to export its crude. If the oil tanker Nabarima were to disintegrate, this would be the fourth major oil spill from Venezuela in the past 3 months alone, and by far the worst. He is urging the embattled leader to look beyond years of bitter disputes between his government and the oil workers union to head off a potential environmental disaster. “I invited you, Mr. President. ", First published on October 21, 2020 / 4:27 PM. / CBS News. Venezuelan oil minister @TareckPSUV greets captain of Iranian oil tanker Fortune, 1st of 5 Iranian ships delivering crude to Venezuela in face of threats from US warships patrolling the regionThe resistance fights on in time of COVID-19! Girot said several PDVSA employees reported on October 12 that the tanker was listing by eight percent while the engine room is flooded and water pumps have broken down. The vessel is part of a joint venture between Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and the Italian company Eni SpA. "But the consequences could be catastrophic for the entire Caribbean.”. Sanctioned ships include two very large crude carriers (VLCCs; tankers that carry 2 million barrels of crude oil), one Suezmax (a tanker carrying 1 million barrels) and one Aframax (750,000 barrels) that loaded in Venezuela over the past three months. 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