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Brazil court orders Petrobras to refuel stranded Iranian grain vessels

PortandTerminal.com, July 26, 2019

After Iran’s threatens to take its business elsewhere, Brazil’s Supreme Court orders its state-run oil company to refuel two Iranian vessels stranded at port due to lack of fuel.

BRASILIA/RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil’s top court on Thursday ordered state-run oil company Petrobras to refuel two Iranian grain vessels stranded on the Brazilian coast due to U.S. sanctions holding up sales of fuel needed for their return trips.

Port of Paragua

The two vessels have been stuck at the Port of Paranagua, the country’s second-largest port, for 50 days,

Petrobras has been refusing to provide fuel to the two Iranian ships vessels, for fear of breaching U.S. sanctions.

Seyed Ali Saghaeyan, Iranian Ambassador to Brazil

Iran’s ambassador in Brasilia, Seyed Ali Saghaeyan, told Brazilian officials on Tuesday that his country could easily find new suppliers of corn, soybeans and meat if the South American country refuses to permit the refuelling of the vessels.

Petrobras will comply with the decision, a person close to the company said.

Context

Brazil exports around $2 billion to Iran a year, mostly commodities like corn, meat and sugar. Tehran buys one-third of all Brazil’s corn exports.

The ships Bavand and Termeh are among five Iranian vessels testing a new trade route, bringing urea to Brazil and returning to Iran with corn. Iran is trying to boost sales of petrochemicals like urea as sanctions hammer its oil industry.

For two other Iranian ships at Brazilian ports, MV Delruba and Ganj, it is not clear if they will need to refuel to get back to Iran after unloading their urea and loading corn.

The fifth vessel, Daryabar, managed to leave Brazil and is currently bypassing South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, according to Refinitiv’s Eikon ship tracking system.

All five ships are on the U.S. sanctions list. The sanctions also bar trading of urea, but not food.

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