A tanker operated by Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA damaged its hull hitting a sandbank in the Caribbean and is undergoing emergency repairs at a shipyard in the Bahamas, maritime sources said.
The sources said no oil spill had been caused by the accident involving the Aframax-class tanker Yare, which was delivered to a subsidiary of PDVSA by shipbuilders in Japan a year ago.
"The ship has been in Freeport, Bahamas, for repairs for more than a week," one of the sources told Reuters. "It will be in the dry dock about 40 days while they replace the steel plates that were damaged in the ballast tanks on both sides."
PDVSA officials were not immediately available to comment.
PDVSA Marina wants to renew its ageing fleet, which transports about a third of Venezuela exports of almost 2.5 million barrels per day. The subsidiary has signed contracts to build new tankers with companies in countries including Spain, Argentina and Japan.
The Venezuela-flagged Yare was one of four 104,000-tonne Aframax tankers delivered to PDVSA by Japan's Sumitomo since last year. PDVSA currently has 63 ships in its fleet, operated by PDVSA Marina and various private contractors. It sent ten of its tankers for maintenance last year.
The latest tanker received from Sumitomo, the Tamanaco, is docked at Venezuela's Cardon refinery waiting to begin work, one of the maritime sources said.
PDVSA rents storage capacity at the Bahamas Oil Refining Company (BORCO), which it owned until 2007, and refining and storage capacity elsewhere in the Caribbean including Bonaire, Curacao, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.