Iranian supertanker carrying condensate docks in Venezuela

Jan 31, 2022, 9:53 PM | Updated: Feb 1, 2022, 10:05 pm
In this satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC, the Iranian oil tanker Starla is seen off the coast o...

In this satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC, the Iranian oil tanker Starla is seen off the coast of Barcelona, Venezuela, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022. An Iran-flagged supertanker carrying more than 2 million barrels of condensate has docked at a Venezuelan port, with both countries facing U.S. sanctions, according to analysts and satellite images analyzed by The Associated Press. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

(Planet Labs PBC via AP)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — An Iran-flagged supertanker carrying more than 2 million barrels of condensate has docked at a Venezuelan port, with both countries facing U.S. sanctions, according to analysts and satellite images analyzed by The Associated Press.

The arrival of the oil tanker Starla comes as negotiations continue in Vienna over the Islamic Republic’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers, which allowed for oil sales. In 2018, the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the accord under then President Donald Trump, sparking years of tensions across the wider Mideast that continue today.

The Starla arrived off the coast of Barcelona, Venezuela, in late January. A satellite photo analyzed by AP from Planet Labs PBC showed the vessel there Sunday and corresponded to other images of the vessel and its helipad.

Its dimensions also matched those of the Starla, which is owned by National Iranian Tanker Co. The U.S. Treasury sanctioned the company in October 2020, saying it helped fund the expeditionary Quds Force of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.

The Starla represents the first known condensate shipment of 2022 from Iran to arrive in Venezuela as part of a relationship between the two oil-exporting nations that are both under American sanctions.

Iranian state media has not acknowledged the Starla’s arrival in Venezuela after earlier trumpeting other shipments. Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not respond to a request for comment.

Samir Madani, co-founder of, said the ship is carrying 2.1 million barrels of a very light form of oil based on natural gas that Venezuela’s state-owned company uses to dilute its heavy crude oil to turn into an exportable blend.

Madani said the vessel departed Iran on Dec. 11 and turned off its mandatory Automated Identification System for more than a month and a half. The system is used to prevent collisions, but companies in recent years have adopted a number of techniques, including turning it off, to evade detection as the U.S. has expanded economic sanctions.

Iran maintains close ties to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and has shipped gasoline and other products to the country amid a U.S. sanctions campaign. Madani said vessels carried condensate from Iran to Venezuela four other times since 2020, bringing in more than 8.3 million barrels.

Claire Jungman, the chief of staff at the New York-based group United Against Nuclear Iran who also tracks Iranian oil shipments, similarly identified the Starla from satellite images. Jungman said her organization had tracked an uptick in covert Iranian oil sales to China and Venezuela that she described as the countries “seeing how far they can push the Biden administration.”

“If the U.S. is going to just keep letting them slide by … Iran is going to keep stalling,” Jungman said. “They are getting what they want by the lack of enforcement on sanctions.”


Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - In this image made from video, Taiwan's Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng speaks in Taipei, Ta...
Associated Press

Taiwan vows to respond to China’s military flight incursions

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan’s defense minister on Wednesday said the island will respond to incursions into its airspace by Chinese warplanes and drones, but gave no details on specific actions. Responding to questions from legislators, Chiu Kuo-cheng said China’s newly aggressive stance had changed what Taiwan would define as a “first strike” that would […]
1 day ago
Belarus exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya delivers a speech at the Warsaw Security ...
Associated Press

Belarus opposition hopeful at Russian setbacks in Ukraine

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Belarus’ opposition leader said Wednesday that she believes Russian military setbacks in Ukraine could shake the hold on power of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. “We have a distracted Russia that is about to lose this war. It won’t be able to prop Lukashenko up with money and military support as in […]
1 day ago
Ukrainian soldiers sit on an armoured vehicle as they drive on a road between Izium and Lyman in Uk...
Associated Press

Live Updates: Russia-Ukraine War

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s presidential office says that at least five civilians have been killed and eight have been wounded by the latest Russian shelling. A statement on Wednesday says Russian troops used six Iranian suicide drones to strike the town of Bila Tserkva in the Kyiv region, leaving one person wounded. The strikes were […]
1 day ago
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a commission on Russia's escalatio...
Associated Press

Top EU official vows to ‘stress test’ pipelines after leaks

BRUSSELS (AP) — The head of the European Union’s executive arm vowed Wednesday to introduce checks on key EU infrastructure, including energy, after the suspected sabotage of natural-gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the damage last week to the Nord Stream pipelines linking Russia and Germany has […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Detained Iranian-American, 85, leaves Iran heading to Oman

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An 85-year-old Iranian-American held by Iran left the country Wednesday for Oman, officials said, after increasing international pressure to free him amid his struggles with poor health. The state-run IRNA news agency published video of Baquer Namazi boarding a Royal Oman air force jet, apparently in Tehran. It said […]
1 day ago
FILE - An Afghan refugee boy carries a bag of mangoes on his shoulder in Karachi, Pakistan, Sunday,...
Associated Press

Amnesty: Creditors should provide debt relief to Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — International creditors should provide debt relief to Sri Lanka to alleviate suffering as its people endure hunger, worsening poverty and shortages of basic supplies, Amnesty International said in a statement Wednesday. For months, Sri Lanka has been in the grip of a dire economic crisis and the country has defaulted […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Iranian supertanker carrying condensate docks in Venezuela