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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
08/07/19 12:08

Washington ‘released’ PB Tankers' ships

Following the termination of the agreement with Cubametales, US ministry of treasury removed the Italian company from its black-list, unblocking its assets

Having acknowledged "the actions carried out by the company to ensure that its ships are not involved in activities supporting the illegal regime of former Venezuelan president Maduro", the American ministry of treasury decided to remove PB Tankers from the OFAC's (Office of Foreign Assets Control) black-list, thus releasing the 5 tankers belonging to the company.

On last April the 12th, the Italian company, belonging to the Sicilian family Barbaro, had been included in Washington's black-list as the American administration accused it of "having operated in the Venezuelan oil sector", which is subject to strict sanctions by the US Government. In particular, the unit involved is the ship Silver Point as it was used to transport oil from Venezuela to Cuba on behalf of the Cuban trader Cubametales.

For this reason, they included PB Tankers in their black-list, identifying its 5 ships as "blocked property". Obviously, this prevented the company from operating on the market, and consequently from generating cash: "Our ships - explained the company immediately after the measure – were granted a temporary licence to carry out ordinary management and maintenance activities, for safety reasons. However, at present they cannot load any cargoes nor enter into shipping agreements".

Moreover, the American penalty implied also a temporary block of operations of the FSO platform Alba Marina (at the Adriatic offshore gas field Rospo Marina), belonging to Edison but operated by PB Tankers: in order to avoid additional risks, the Milan-based energy corporation decided to terminate the agreement with Barbaro's shipping company.

For this reason, PB Tankers applied for an arrangement with creditors (pursuant to Art. 161 FL), and its application was accepted by the Insolvency Court of Rome, which granted the company 120 days to submit the final application for voluntary arrangement, including its debt restructuring plan.

Meanwhile, the OFAC removed the company from its black-list, acknowledging that “PB Tankers terminated its charter agreement with Cubametales, which had chartered the unit Silver Point to transport oil between Venezuela and Cuba, and implemented additional measures to increase the safety of its operations and to avoid future punishable activities”.

Therefore, “all PB Tankers' assets and interests in properties, which had been blocked following its inclusion in the  black-list, and all transactions with the company involving American subjects are no longer forbidden”.

Francesco Bottino  

TAG : Tanker