Iran grain ships stuck in Brazil without fuel due to U.S. sanctions

Iran grain ships stuck in Brazil without fuel due to U.S. sanctions

Iran grain ships stuck in Brazil without fuel due to U.S. sanctions

Written by Reuters

19 Jul, 2019 | 3:18 pm

REUTERS: Two Iranian vessels have been stranded for weeks at Brazilian ports, unable to head back to Iran due to lack of fuel, which state-run oil firm Petrobras refuses to sell them due to sanctions imposed by the United States.

The vessels Bavand and Termeh came to Brazil a couple months ago carrying urea, a petrochemical product used as fertilizer. They were expected to load corn and return to Iran, but lacked enough fuel for the trip, the port operator in Paranagua told Reuters.

The ships are at bay in the Paranagua port in southern Parana state, the port’s press service confirmed to Reuters. The Bavand is loaded with 50,000 tonnes of corn, while the Termeh remains scheduled to load 66,000 tonnes of corn.

Food is not covered by U.S. sanctions, and Iran is one of the largest buyers of Brazil’s agricultural commodities, importing more than 2.5 million tonnes of Brazilian corn so far this year – more than any other country. However, that trade is not usually carried by ships flying the Iranian flag. When the vessels are Iranian, they usually come with enough fuel to return without refuelling.

The main supplier of bunker fuel for ships in Brazil is Transpetro, a subsidiary of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, as the state-run company is known. Petrobras confirmed it had declined to fuel the ships and cited the sanctions.

If the vessels are unable to find a fuel company that does not follow U.S. sanctions, a solution of last resort could be for Iran to send a ship with fuel resupply to Brazil.

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