Intertanko Expresses Concern For Situation in Venezuela
Wednesday, December 11, 2002
As the strike in Venezuela enters its second week, Intertanko expresses deep concern over safety levels at terminals and waterways in the area.
With 90-95 percent of employees of state oil company PDVSA out in strike, the Venezuelan government is reportedly attempting to replace striking workers by inexperienced military personnel and ex-employees. As the strike has been expanded to include pilots, tugs and crew on board PDSVA's own tankers, several episodes have been reported where berthing and unberthing manoeuvres have been undertaken under what appears to be unsafe conditions.
Intertanko expresses fear that recent actions by government and military forces will contribute to increased antagonism, prolonging the crisis and disruption to refinery and shipping activities. INTERTANKO is also concerned over possible insurance issues and the ability to provide safe ports for tankers calling at Venezuelan terminals. Said Anders Baardvik, INTERTANKO Regional Manager for Latin America: "INTERTANKO encourages owners to exercise extreme caution and liase closely with local agents, charterers and their P&I clubs before proceeding to terminals in the area. We understand that no advice or notice have been issued by insurers so far but that they are monitoring the situation closely. We hope that the Venezuelan government and the striking parties are able to negotiate a quick and peaceful resolution to the situation. The current state of affairs is disruptive not only to the safe and economic operation of tankers in the region, but also contributes to continued social unrest."