Caribbean crude tanker rates shot through the roof as oil poured towards the United States, brokers said. Typical rates for 70,000 ton upcoast U.S. liftings soared past W300 ($12.25 per ton) - up around 20 points on the previous day and about 75 points over a week ago. Increased crude production by Venezuela and Mexico was reportedly causing the spike. Increased VLCC arrivals from the Middle East was also putting pressure on Aframax supply in the U.S. Gulf as the 80,000 ton ships were used to lighter oil to terminals from the two million barrel supertankers. Panamax 50,000 ton rates were also seen crossing the W300 barrier as demand for the smaller vessels was pulled upward by the squeeze on Aframaxes. Pressure on available VLCCs in the Middle East was also pushing rates up again with W95-97.5 seen attainable for modern ships heading to the U.S. (about $16.00 per ton) or Europe.