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A tanker with a load of fuel oil from Russia on its way to Matanzas changes course

A shipment of fuel from Russia destined for the Cuban port of Matanzas was diverted to a smaller facilityafter the devastating fire at the Matanzas Supertanker Base destroyed much of the main fuel terminal on the Island.

According to ship monitoring data and the Refinitiv Eikon company, The Liberian-flagged tanker NS Laguna, which transports 700,000 barrels of fuel, changed its destination on Wednesday to the Cuban port of Antilla, in Holguínfrom Matanzas, making a slight turn in that direction, reported Reuters.

the official newspaper Aheadfrom Camagüey, had reported this week in his social networks that the ship would dock at the Holguin terminal on Saturday, August 13, information that confirms this report.

The tanker would have a cargo of fuel oil, according to ship tracking dataand would have left Russia on July 26 last.

This week, the state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), Cuba’s main supplier of crude oil and fuel, also diverted two shipments of crude destined for Matanzas to the ports of Antilla and Santiago de Cuba.

On Wednesday, Miguel Díaz Canel said that his Government is designing a new system to receive imports, as part of a recovery effort after the worst oil fire in Cuba’s history. This, while the biggest electricity generation crisis in 30 years causes blackouts of more than 12 hours in most of the country.

In mid-July, the tanker Aframax Suvorovsky Prospect, also flying the Liberian flag, arrived in Matanzas with some 700,000 barrels of fuel oil., loaded in the Russian port of Ust-Luga. This offers Moscow an outlet for its products rejected by the West after the invasion of Ukraine.

On that occasion, none of the official media reported the arrival of the ship.

Havana, which depends on Venezuela as the main source of energy imports, has been forced to make expensive one-off purchases of fuel while his political ally struggles to satisfy his own internal demand.

Some shipments have arrived from Russia, which makes the Island one of the largest importers of Russian fuel in Latin America this yearaccording to vessel tracking data.

Venezuela has sent Cuba some 56,610 barrels per day (bpd) of crude, gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and fuel oil so far this year, slightly below 2021 levels, according to PDVSA documents and data consulted by Reuters.

The United States and Canada have imposed sanctions on Russian oil and fuel following the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, while Europe and the United Kingdom are moving toward a year-end embargo on imports of Russian crude.

Cuba relies heavily on energy imports for everything, from fuel for electricity networks to diesel and gasoline engines. The Matanzas terminal, which can handle up to 2.4 million barrels, is the only one with the capacity to receive large ships.

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