Venezuelan authorities claim to have foiled an attempt to smuggle 50,000 barrels of diesel fuel out of the country, according to Reuters.
With Venezuela subsidizing fuel to the point of it being almost free on the domestic market, the temptation is strong for criminals to smuggle it out to nearby countries where it can fetch international prices.
It’s a huge profit for small financial outlay but, now, it appears a bigger risk of capture. Some recent discoveries are part of a crackdown by authorities furious at seeing the public purse miss out on so much potential revenue from overseas sales.
What makes the recent discovery worse is that the theft was being carried out using a tanker of the state-sponsored PDVSA company.
Allegedly an official inspection revealed that the ship, the Negra Hipolita (47,144 dwt, built 1996) while at Cardon Refinery in Falcon state, was found to be carrying 60,000 barrels of diesel while authorised to carry only 10,000. The Cardon Refinery is part of the Paraguana Refinery Complex, the world’s third largest.
Seven arrests have been made.
The events occurred on Monday last week but were only made public at the weekend.
It was one of three such detentions made over a few days, the other two involving ships from Panama.