OREANDA-NEWS. March 19, 2018. Venezuelan state-owned PdV reached a settlement that released a cargo of crude and bunkers that had been held in nearby Curacao since 30 December.

The Panama-flagged Proteo tanker, a Lakemax vessel with 600,000-700,000 bl of capacity, is now free to leave the Dutch-controlled island, Roderik van Hees, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, told Argus.

"We levied attachments and now we lifted the attachments, which means that PdV is free to do with the oil what they want," Van Hees said. "The attachments were lifted pursuant to a settlement agreement I reached with PdV on behalf of my clients."

Further details of the agreement, or the names of the parties that imposed the attachments, were not disclosed.

The tanker, which is carrying extra-heavy Boscan crude and remains for the moment in the Curacao port of Bullen Bay, is one of numerous vessels that have been detainedin the Dutch Caribbean over the past year because of PdV's overdue debts.

Under Dutch law, a court order for a pre-judgment attachment of assets is easier to obtain than in other legal jurisdictions such as the US. This is partly because the counterparty whose assets would be seized does not need to be present in the court when the preliminary order is issued.

The detentions, which numbered an estimated 15 last year, expose the legal vulnerability of PdV's Caribbean operations, which are vital to its export logistics.