Petrobras Refuses to Supply Bunkers to Two Iranian Bulkers

Grain terminal at Port of Paranagua (file image courtesy Port of Paranagua)

Published Jul 19, 2019 2:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

Brazilian oil major Petrobras has refused to provide bunkers for two Iranian bulkers at the grain port of Paranaguá, leaving the vessels unable to return to their home country. 

The two ships, the 54,000 dwt Bavand and the 75,000 dwt Termeh, arrived in Imbituba, Brazil earlier this year carrying urea, a fertilizer manufactured from natural gas or other hydrocarbons. Iran has an abundance of fossil fuel production that it cannot export due to American sanctions, but an unnamed Brazilian buyer was willing to purchase this petrochemical product despite the compliance risk. 

Petrobras, however, has extensive business interests in the United States, and said that it did not wish to risk problems with American authorities by supplying Iranian vessels with fuel - especially since these two vessels are explicitly named on the U.S. Department of the Treasury's blacklist. 

"The vessels were included by the United States in the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN)," Petrobras said in a statement. "If Petrobras were to supply these vessels, it would be subject to the risk of being included in the same list, which could cause serious damages to the company. It should be noted that there are other fuel suppliers in the country,"  

The Bavand has already loaded with 50,000 tonnes of Brazilian corn for the Iranian market, while the Termeh is still slated to take on another 66,000 tonnes. Both appear to be stuck at Paranaguá until they can secure an adequate supply of fuel. Reuters reports that an additional two Iranian-owned bulkers at Imbituba, the Delruba and the Ganj, may be similarly affected.