US Adds Oil-Sector Firms, Ships to Venezuela Sanctions List

April 6, 2019 Updated: April 6, 2019

WASHINGTON—The United States on Friday, April 5, added two companies involved in shipping oil from Venezuela to Cuba, along with nearly three dozen ships, to a financial sanctions list aimed at increasing pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to step down and turn over power to the opposition.

A Treasury Department statement announcing the designation identified one of the companies as Ballito Bay Shipping Inc., based in Monrovia, Liberia. It is the registered owner of the Despina Andrianna, which has been used in recent weeks to ship Venezuelan crude to Cuba.

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro
President of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro (L) looks on before talking to judges and members of the Supreme Justice Tribunal on its annual opening day of sessions in Caracas, Venezuela, on Jan. 24, 2019. (Getty Images)

The other company is ProPer Management Inc., which is based in Greece and is the operator of the Despina Andrianna, the Treasury said.

Cuba is a major importer of crude oil from Venezuela and, in exchange, sends political advisers, intelligence and military officials and medical professionals who help the Maduro government stay in power, the Treasury said.

The Treasury’s action prohibits any U.S. citizen or entity from transactions involving the companies, which is intended to reduce their access to the global financial system.

The Treasury also listed 34 ships that it said are assets of the Venezuelan state-owned oil company known by its initials as PdVSA.

The United States and about 50 other countries say Maduro’s re-election last year was not legitimate and have recognized the head of the National Assembly as the interim president of Venezuela.

The United States imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry in January to cut off the government’s most important source of revenue.