Saudi shipping company denies violating US sanctions against Venezuela

  12 February 2019    Read: 1993
Saudi shipping company denies violating US sanctions against Venezuela

The National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia denied accusations by US Senator Marco Rubio who suggested that the company was violating US sanctions on Venezuela, the Saudi Embassy in the United States said in a series Twitter posts on Monday.

"The national shipping company of KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) clarifies that its oil tanker is on her way from the Red Sea to pick up a cargo from the Port of Jose Terminal in #Venezuela for one of its regular customers in India", the Saudi embassy said.

The embassy said the cargo was contracted on 9 January, long before the United States imposed sanctions on Venezuela on 28 January.

It added that the ship's voyage would be completed before the end of the exemption period allowed for winding down business with sanctioned Venezuelan entities.

The embassy was responding to remarks Rubio made on Twitter on Saturday, when he accused Saudi Arabia’s shipping company of "blatantly trying to undermine US efforts" to support the Venezuelan people.

In his Twitter post, Rubio claimed a vessel from Saudi Arabia would soon arrive to Venezuela to sell President Nicolas Maduro dilutents for use in producing oil, which he would then sell to generate income.

Rubio has been a vocal supporter of opposition leader Juan Guaido, who on 23 January declared himself to be Venezuela's interim president. Guaido's declaration was almost immediately recognized by the United States and some of its allies.

Russia, China, Mexico, Turkey, Iran and Uruguay have said that they consider constitutionally elected Maduro to be Venezuela's legitimate president.

In late January, the United States blocked all assets of Venezuela’s PDVSA in its jurisdiction and imposed a ban on deals with the oil company. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that by blocking PDVSA's assets, the United States was taking care of this company "in the interests of the people of Venezuela" and also protecting its own market.

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