0229 GMT August 04, 2020
The cargo ship is expected to dock in Venezuela soon, an arrival that comes shortly after five Iranian tankers delivered 1.5m barrels of gasoline and other oil products to Iran’s fuel-starved South American ally in May despite US threats.
The Iranian-flagged freighter Golsan’s journey signals a blossoming relationship between the two nations in defiance of stiff financial sanctions by the administration of US President Donald Trump against each of them, AP wrote.
The vessel has reportedly left Shahid Rajaee Port in Iran's southern city of Bandar Abbas in mid-May.
The Golsan approached Caribbean waters on Friday. It could reach a Venezuelan port by Sunday or Monday, said Dallen, based on tracking technology.
Caracas says its deep gasoline shortages have eased since the Iranian tankers delivered fuel.
With Iran's recent technical help, Venezuela has also managed to get the Paraguana Refinery Complex, one of the largest in the world, partially working and producing gasoline, Dallen said.
Reuters recently reported that Iran may continue to ship fuel to sanctions-hit Venezuela at a rate of about two to three cargoes per month.
“Tehran plans to keep up the shipments, according to five trading and industry sources close to the Oil Ministry,” the news agency said.
Venezuela is grappling with shortages of gasoline due to sanctions unilaterally imposed by the United States on Caracas.
Iran’s fuel shipments to Venezuela drew the ire of the Trump administration in Washington, which had previously threatened to block new oil tankers between Tehran and Caracas to prevent them from reaching the Venezuelan coast.
Earlier this month, a flight carrying humanitarian aid for the coronavirus pandemic had arrived in Venezuela from Iran.
The cargo included test kits and medical supplies.
Venezuelan Planning Minister Ricardo Menendez said at the time that President Nicolas Maduro will travel to Iran as soon possible as to thank it for the humanitarian aid and the crude consignment.
Maduro had already announced plans to travel to Iran to sign energy, finance, military, agricultural, technology, and health deals.