Mexico sends tanker to Cuba


A cargo of diesel shipment sent by Mexico’s state-owned Pemex will arrive at the port of Havana on Monday, according to Refinitiv Eikon data and sources, after Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador pledged humanitarian aid to the island.

The Jose Maria Morelos II, a tanker owned and managed by a Pemex unit, is on its way to the Caribbean island after Mexico’s leftist government announced last week that it would send two humanitarian cargoes, including food and diesel, to Cuba.

Officials in Havana have long said the decades-long U.S. embargo on Cuba has caused widespread hardship on the island, where thousands of people took to the streets this month in protests. Cuba’s vital tourism industry has also been hit hard by the drop in travel in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic.

The vessel departed from the Mexican port of Coatzacoalcos and is sailing with its transponder on, but has not updated its destination port, according to Eikon.

Monitoring service and a shipping source said it is sailing at half load. A Pemex source told Reuters that the cargo contains 20 million liters or about 126,000 barrels of diesel.

Pemex declined to comment on the contents and destination of the vessel. The Mexican and Cuban foreign ministries did not respond to requests for comment.

An independent shipping source said the tanker departed last week from dock number four at the port of Coatzacoalcos after receiving “priority,” so it loaded immediately.

The terminal is located near the Pemex refinery in Minatitlán, on the Gulf of Mexico.

The U.S. Treasury Department, which enforces the sanctions, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mexico said it would help Cuba after unusual protests this month by thousands of citizens against the island’s dire economic conditions and the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mexico said its policy toward Cuba is a show of international solidarity.

Lopez Obrador on Monday called on U.S. President Joe Biden to make a decision on the embargo on Cuba so that families on the island can receive remittances.

Cuba’s main fuel supplier is Venezuela, whose own economy is mired in a deep recession that has led to widespread shortages. Venezuela’s oil production and refinery output have been reduced in recent years due to lack of maintenance and harsh U.S. sanctions, which has reduced its exports to Cuba.

Source Reuters
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