Spanish – Unprecedented waste, persistent corruption, and institutional failure. This is the result of the consolidation plan for maritime transport of Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), with which it intended to increase its fleet.
Its subsidiary PDV Marina squandered 3.7 billion USD when it decided to go from 21 to 42 the state owned oil vessels to transport 1.2 million barrels, reveals the report of the Alianza Rebelde Investiga (Rebel Investigation Alliance) along with the Latin American journalism platform CONNECTAS.
Six years after the plan, the state-owned company exports 300,000 barrels per day but does not have the projected ships, and their operational availability is less than 80%.
A sea of losses
In a package of 18 tankers to be built, which included the Eva Perón and the Juana Azurduy, more than 540 million dollars were prepaid, although only one was delivered.
The purchase of another four tankers from a Japanese company amounted to a surcharge of 120 million USD.
Due to the paralysis or delays in deliveries, more than 200 million USD were spent, and an additional 177 million USD in freight for two ships – the Petión and the Sandino – that take oil to Cuba and whose management is maintained by Raúl Castro’s relatives.
The figure for operating expenses is even more outrageous, amounting to 1.8 billion, plus another 105 million in freight without support, 100 million in the project of a shipyard in the state of Sucre that never started operating, and 370 million in budget deviations for boats and tugboats.
“The sum is complemented by uncontrolled hiring, no recovery of claims, delays in ports attributed to customers, and purchase of materials evading the processes,” the media indicates.
What was revealed is part of “the failed and wasteful plans of PDVSA to build its maritime sovereignty that only served to enrich some and lose money in a sea of irregularities,” the document indicates.
The illicit acts stem from the audit of 350 documents of the corporation, public reports of the company, and interviews with more than 18 sources linked to the business.
The report assures that “millionaire amounts of the Venezuelan treasury were compromised” and the wasted resources “are equivalent to more than half of the international reserves declared by the Venezuelan Central Bank in October 2020, located in 6.4 billion dollars.”
Hidden deep inside
Embezzlement is “a matter that has been kept under wraps, while PDVSA’s ships are on fire or remain stranded,” reports Alianza Rebelde Investiga. The company “resorts to gadgets to mobilize its production and avoid U.S. sanctions with cargo ships and auxiliary vessels.”
The Teseo, one of the vessels of the maritime division of the state-owned Chavista company, caught fire in Cuba by transporting half a million barrels of fuel oil for electricity generation.
This Aframax-type tanker, which sails short distances, left the Venezuelan port of Cardón for the Cuban port of Felton, according to an internal document from PDVSA and data on the tracking of ships from the Refinitiv Eikon platform.
The case of Teseo is not the only one. The storage vessel Nabamira is also semi-sinking in the waters of the Caribbean Sea with 1.3 million barrels of crude.
The report details that 129 oil tankers, Venezuelan and foreign, served PDVSA from 2015 to 2017 through PDV Marina.
And since the beginning of the sanctions, 46 ships arrived at the Cardón and Amuay refineries in Venezuela to load or unload oil and other hydrocarbons from and to other countries, especially Cuba.
Fleet in ruins
In the waters of the Orinoco River in Venezuela, there is evidence of the disaster following the sinking of the corporation’s vessel, the Río Canagua, after it hit a rock last December.
“The crew saved their lives, but nothing could be done about the 150,000 liters of diesel that were spilled. The workers blamed the managers for not maintaining the hulls of the ships,” reads the report.
“They only threw paint on it and kept the money,” claimed Martín Goitte, Secretary of the Organization of the Oil Union of the state of Bolivar, cited by the investigation.
There was another accident in Negra Matea, the old boat called the old Pilín León, which has been stranded in a Portuguese shipyard for three years and remains there while its repairs are being paid for.
The report also reveals that six cargo ships remain anchored in Venezuela for different reasons. The old PDVSA was left behind with some twenty ships of its own and which chartered approximately 60 for its annual operations. Now it must turn to Iran because, according to the investigation, “a third of its own fleet is paralyzed.”
A corrupt subsidiary
PDV Marina was in charge of the distribution and maritime transportation of hydrocarbons and its derivatives until May of this year when Maduro eliminated it due to “cases of corruption involving its managers and workers.”
The last major scandal occurred in March when the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) arrested 38 officials, including President Oswaldo Vargas, for allegedly smuggling oil.
“PDV Marina responded to the planning and directives of the Vice Presidency of Commerce and Supply, and for seven years, from 2007 to 2013, the highest authority was Asdrúbal Chávez.”
Additionally, PDV Marina maintained a direct relationship with PDVSA Naval and the Dianca shipyard, which functioned as allied bodies in ship construction and repair projects.
The disclosure of audit reports from 2013 to 2017 helped reveal organizational disorder, and in Dianca’s case, computer systems were manipulated to hide corruption.
Sources stated that “purchases are made without prior contracting and documents are forged to justify transactions that were made by hand” and pointed to PDV Marina as the one responsible for “propitiating the destruction and abandonment of vessels with the objective of justifying the contracting of recently created shipping companies that charge in dollars and with a surcharge.”
The Maduro regime now created PDV Puertos in an attempt to stop the fraudulent administration and the wrecking of its greatest source of resources. Will it succeed?