Partial lightering is required to re-float a Greek-operated aframax tanker
which grounded in Venezuela’s Maracaibo channel on Monday.
Authorities in Venezuela are confident that the narrow channel,
which is notoriously hazardous to shipping,
will be fully re-opened by Saturday
as partial restrictions remain in place for vessels
with a draft of over 37 feet, Reuters reported.
A suitable vessel is being sought to lighter about 20,000 tonnes of crude oil
from the 104,700-dwt Phoenix Beta (built 2003)
which ran aground in strong currents and windy conditions.
The Hong Kong-flagged vessel is said by Reuters to be under charter
to Swedish oil company Nynas with a cargo of 70,000 tonnes of crude destined for Sweden.
Reuters quotes port captain Edgar Gonzalez as saying
the re-floating operation will begin on Thursday and should take 24 hours.
However, if a suitable transfer vessel is not found the operation could be extended.
Costis Protopapas of the vessel's operator, Phoenix Energy Navigation of Piraeus,
was not available for comment on Thursday.
The Phoenix Beta operates in the Aframax International (AI) pool
and is classed by ABS with P+I cover from the UK P+I Club