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BSM aims to return management of Venezuelan ships to government by Apr due to sanctions

Singapore — Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement plans to return the ships it is managing for Venezuelan government companies by the end of March or early April due to sanctions imposed by the US, a senior company official said Thursday.

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"We have now reached a point where managing assets for the Venezuelan government has become an almost impossible task," BSM Cyprus Managing Director Nikolaos Kretsis said in a statement. "Our intention is to try and hand back all the vessels to PDV Marina and its subsidiaries as soon as practically possible," he added.

Five 99,000 dwt small Aframax-sized vessels that BSM has managed have been shuttling between Venezuelan terminals, including Punta Cardon, Punto Fijo and Bajo Grande and the storage terminals at Bullen Bay and Willemstad on the Netherland Antilles island of Curacao, cFlow, Platts trade flow software, showed.

The five vessels are at least 25 years old and were identified as the1992-built Zeus, the 1993-built Eos, Nero and Proteo and the 1994- built Hero.

Data from cFlow showed that none of these tankers have been moving since May 2018, well before the January 28 US sanctions on PDVSA. The Eos has been at Punto Fijo since December 21, while the Hero has not left Amuay Bay since it arrived there from Curacao's Bullen Bay terminal June 2, 2017. The Nero has been sitting at Punto Fijo since May 16, 2018, while the Proteo and the Zeus have been stationary at Punto Fijo and Punta Cardon since March 24, 2018 and August 1, 2017.

As a result, BSM's aim to return these vessels to PDV Marina has not had an impact on shipping markets.

In addition, shipping sources identified the 1983-built Guanoco Asfaltero and Start Asphalt, as well as the Icarus, Pacer and Theseus to be among tankers under BSM management.

Redelivering the vessels to PDV Marina and its subsidiaries has proven difficult because of the lack of resources in Venezuela, he said.

BSM Cyprus and its subsidiaries have operated in Venezuela for almost 25 years and managed vessels for several governments over that time. The recent political developments have significantly changed the outlook for the country, Kretsis said.

He added that BSM Cyprus will continue to provide uninterrupted services to all other customers. "Operations in the rest of the world remain active, safe and reliable," he said.

BSM manages a fleet of around 600 vessels worldwide.

--Barbara Troner, barbara.troner@spglobal.com

--Sameer C. Mohindru, sameer.mohindru@spglobal.com

--Edited by Wendy Wells, wendy.wells@spglobal.com