TCRLA_Public/190528.mbx        T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

                 L A T I N   A M E R I C A

          Tuesday, May 28, 2019, Vol. 20, No. 106


A N T I G U A   A N D   B A R B U D A

LIAT: Ralph Gonsalves Optimistic on Airline's Future


AVIANCA BRASIL: ANAC Suspends Operations Following Bankruptcy
BR PROPERTIES: S&P Affirms BB- Global Scale ICR, Outlook Negative
OURO VERDE: Fitch Lowers LongTerm Issuer Default Ratings to 'RD'
TUPY SA: S&P Raises Long-Term ICRs to 'BB', Outlook Stable


BANCOLOMBIA SA: S&P Alters Outlook to Pos. & Affirms BB+/B ICRs

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

EMPRESA GENERADORA: S&P Affirms 'BB-' ICR, Outlook Still Stable


GUATEMALA: S&P Assigns 'BB-' Rating on US$1.2BB Sr. Unsec. Notes


PETROLEOS MEXICANOS: President Obrador's Refinery Plan Criticized

P U E R T O   R I C O

EM POLICIA: Seeks to Hire Nilda M. Gonzalez Cordero as Attorney
LABORATORIO ACROPOLIS: Taps Gloria Justiniano Irizarry as Counsel


PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Fleet Operator Seeks to Detain Tankers

                           - - - - -

A N T I G U A   A N D   B A R B U D A

LIAT: Ralph Gonsalves Optimistic on Airline's Future
Melanius Alphonse at Caribbean News Now reports that following St
Vincent and the Grenadines' prime minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves
exclamations that LIAT closure is imminent, comes his inverted
optimism that LIAT is not going anywhere, anytime soon.

According to Caribbean News Now, Mr. Gonsalves, who is also the
chairman of LIAT's shareholder government said, "We are going to be
all right."  The chairman's remark was based on the decision by
some regional governments to access LIAT's emergency funding of
US$5.4 million to remain viable, restructuring plans and new
investment options, Caribbean News Now notes.

Grenada's investment to date is EC$1.3 million (One EC dollar =
US$0.37 cents) and reaffirmed that commitment to becoming the
regional airline's fifth shareholder, April 30, alongside Antigua
and Barbuda, Dominica, St Vincent and the Grenadines and majority
shareholder Barbados, Caribbean News Now discloses.

CARICOM affairs minister, Oliver Joseph who is also Grenada's trade
and industry minister, said "When we look at the figures from the
number of passengers that LIAT brings to Grenada, of course the
multiplier effect is great. LIAT brings in thousands of visitors to
Grenada every year and therefore from an economic and social point
of view Grenada had to support LIAT because not supporting LIAT
will mean the loss of revenue and economic development to our

St Kitts and Nevis has put in approximately EC$1 million, while
Dominica recognizes LIAT's socio-economic impact has reiterated a
commitment to contribute to the "sustainability and sustenance" of
the regional airline, Caribbean News Now states.

Thus far, Saint Lucia has not contributed and has held on to its
administration's "lone ranger" physiology of not contributing any
funds unless there's a significant change to the airline's
structure, according to Caribbean News Now.

LIAT still needs "some more money," Mr. Gonsalves, as cited by
Caribbean News Now, said.  This coincides with chief executive
officer (CEO) Julie Reifer-Jones, in that "There are ongoing
discussions with governments on the need for all the territories
served by LIAT to contribute through a minimum revenue guarantee
model (MRG)."

The matter of Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Records' interest
and/or a potential investor in LIAT gathers divergent thoughts.

"I am not aware that Virgin has expressed any interest in LIAT but
they are looking at various models, so if Virgin expressed
interest, that is something that LIAT board will consider because
government maintains that you have to restructure LIAT, so if you
get a partner I am sure that the board will consider it
favourably," Caribbean News Now quotes Mr. Joseph as saying.

Meanwhile, LIAT is re-tooling a much-required restructuring plan
and Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) proposal aimed at moving
forward, Caribbean News Now relays.

The government of Antigua and Barbuda awaits LIAT's majority
shareholder Barbados; pertaining to a buy-out option, which is part
of prime minister Gaston Browne's strategic approach to safeguard
regional transportation and LIAT's viability, Caribbean News Now

                          About LIAT

LIAT Ltd., formerly known as Leeward Islands Air Transport or LIAT,
is an airline headquartered on the grounds of V. C. Bird
International Airport in Antigua.  It operates high-frequency
inter-island scheduled services serving 15 destinations in the
Caribbean.  The airline's main base is VC Bird International
Airport, Antigua and Barbuda, with bases at Grantley Adams
International Airport, Barbados and Piarco International Airport,
Trinidad and Tobago.

The airline is owned by seven Caribbean governments, with three
being the major shareholders: Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda and St.
Vincent and the Grenadines along with Dominica(94.7 %); other
Caribbean governments, private shareholders and employees (5.3%).

In the last few years, LIAT has been challenged with financial
difficulties, often needing additional funding as the airline dealt
with the high cost of operations.  In November 2016, the Barbados
government defended LIAT's operations, even as opposition
legislators called for a cessation of the business.  In early 2015,
LIAT offered early retirement packages to employees in efforts to
downsize.  In 2014, LIAT knew it had to deal with unprofitable
routes to make operations viable.  In the third quarter of 2013,
the airline's top management was shaken, with news Chief Executive
Officer Captain Ian Brunton's sudden resignation.

LIAT's current chief executive officer is Julie Reifer-Jones,
chairman is Jean Holder, and chief financial officer is Rojer

Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St. Vincent & the
Grenadines, serves as chairman of LIAT shareholders.


AVIANCA BRASIL: ANAC Suspends Operations Following Bankruptcy
Marcelo Teixeira at Reuters reports that Brazil's civil aviation
regulator ANAC said on May 24 it had suspended all flights and
operations of carrier Avianca Brasil in the country as a
precautionary measure, following the company's filing for
bankruptcy late last year.

"All the flights are suspended until the company proves it has the
capacity to maintain operations safely," Reuters quotes ANAC as
saying in a statement.

Avianca Brasil has filed for bankruptcy protection and lost most of
its fleet after lessors obtained favorable court decisions to take
aircraft back for lack of payments, Reuters relates.  It is still
trying to reach a deal to sell remaining assets, Reuters states.

ANAC, as cited by Reuters, said, without elaborating, that it took
the decision after receiving information regarding the operational
safety of Avianca Brasil flights.

According to Reuters, the company said it would continue to work on
its in-court reorganization as it looks to resume operations.

                      About Avianca Brasil

Avianca Brazil, officially Oceanair Linhas Aereas S/A, is a
Brazilian airline based in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  It operates
passenger services from more than 20 destinations.  It is hailed as
the fourth largest airline in Brazil.  Synergy Group is the parent
company of Avianca Brazil.

On December 10, 2018, Avianca Brazil filed for bankruptcy when
three lessors took a move to gain possession of 30% of the
airline's 50 all-Airbus fleet.  The airline further blamed high
fuel prices and a strong dollar for its troubles.  The airline
noted at that time that flights won't be affected.

BR PROPERTIES: S&P Affirms BB- Global Scale ICR, Outlook Negative
On May 23, 2019, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'BB-' global scale
and 'brAA+' national scale issuer credit ratings on Brazilian real
estate operator BR Properties S.A. and affirmed the issue-level
ratings. The outlook remains negative.

S&P said, "The ratings affirmation reflects that we expect the
company will continue reducing vacancy rates through the signing of
new rent contracts over the next few months. During the first
quarter of this year, its vacancy rate reached 26.6% compared to
31.8% in the first quarter of 2018. Although the Brazilian real
estate industry recovery has been slower in the past few quarters
than we previously expected, we forecast vacancies to keep
decreasing, allowing for higher revenues and lower vacancy costs.
As a result, we expect stronger EBITDA margins of about 80% this
year compared with 79% last year, and increasing cash flow
generation over the next few quarters."

Additionally, BR Properties has been selling assets. The net
proceeds from Paulista and Barra da Tijuca buildings should be
about R$660 million, which the company expects to receive in the
next two months. BR Properties will use most of this amount to pay
down debt, consequently reducing its interest burden. Thus, S&P
expects EBITDA interest coverage to improve to near 1.3x by the end
of the year and to about 2.0x in 2020. The company might pursue
other asset sales to reshuffle its portfolio, and S&P would expect
it to use at least part of the proceeds to reduce leverage.

OURO VERDE: Fitch Lowers LongTerm Issuer Default Ratings to 'RD'
Fitch Ratings has downgraded Ouro Verde Locacao e Servico S.A.'s
Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs)
to 'RD' from 'C'. Fitch has also downgraded the company's national
scale rating and local debenture to 'RD(bra)' from 'C(bra)'.

The downgrade of Ouro Verde's ratings reflects the extension of
multiple waivers on the company's 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th debentures
issuances, according to Fitch's rating definitions. The multiple
waivers are part of the company's effort to restructure its debt,
which is the only remaining precedent condition to the sale of the
company to Cedar Fundo de Investimento em Participacoes
Multiestrategia (Cedar), a Brookfield investment vehicle in Brazil.
In Fitch's view, Ouro Verde debt restructure, if concluded, will
represent a Distress Debt Exchange, as it should impose material
reduction in terms compared with the original contractual terms.
Fitch sees the restructure as necessary to avoid bankruptcy or a
traditional payment default. Nevertheless, as ratings are still at
'RD' and 'RD(bra)', no rating action will be required to reflect
the approval once it happens.

After a short period of time when further information is available
regarding Ouro Verde's new debt profile and operating performance
prospects, Fitch expects to re-rate Ouro Verde's IDRs and its
debenture issuances. The restructuring agreement should result in a
significant extension of the maturity date of the company's 5th,
6th, 7th, and 8th debentures issuances, representing 58% of Ouro
Verde's total debt. Fitch understands that Ouro Verde's secured
debt - Finame and financial leases - are not part of the debt


Interest and Principal Payments on Hold: Ouro Verde was recently
granted multiple waivers to suspend interest and principal payments
of its 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th debentures issuances as part of its
effort to conclude a debt restructuring, a precedent condition in
the sale of the company to Cedar. Fitch understands the company
will not have access to new funding to service its financial
obligations or to renovate its current contract base until the sale
of the company or any other liquidity happens. The new investment
agreement, signed in the beginning of March 2019, by which Cedar
will acquire 100% of Ouro Verde's shares, is credit positive if

The BRL500 million in capital injection, expected upon the
acquisition, and a higher financial flexibility will be crucial for
the company to return on its investments and improve its
businesses. Fitch views Brookfield, which has numerous investments
in Brazil, as a strategic owner because it has the financial
wherewithal to support an increase in Ouro Verde's scale, improve
its operating competitiveness and benefit the financial


Developments That May, Individually or Collectively, Lead to a
Positive Rating Action

-- A positive rating action may follow upon the completion of Ouro
    debt restructure and after Fitch completes the assessment of
    company's new financial and operating profile.

Developments That May, Individually or Collectively, Lead to a
Negative Rating Action

-- The ratings will be downgraded to 'D'/'D(bra)' if the company
    for bankruptcy protection.


Fitch has downgraded the following ratings:

Ouro Verde Locacao e Servico S.A

  Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency IDRs to 'RD' from 'C';

  Long-Term National Scale Rating to 'RD(bra)' from 'C(bra)';

  2021 senior unsecured 7th debenture issuance to 'RD(bra)' from

TUPY SA: S&P Raises Long-Term ICRs to 'BB', Outlook Stable
S&P Global Ratings expects Brazil-based auto parts manufacturer
Tupy S.A. to generate solid and increasing cash flows from
continued revenue growth and some profitability improvements.
Therefore, Tupy should reduce leverage even more, with debt to
EBITDA approaching 1.5x in the next few years from 2.1x in 2018.

As a result, on May 21, 2019, S&P Global Ratings raised its
long-term global and national scale issuer credit ratings of Tupy
to 'BB' from 'BB-' and to 'brAAA' from 'brAA+', respectively. S&P
also its debt rating to 'BB' from 'BB-'.

The outlook is now stable, reflecting S&P's expectation that Tupy
will post EBITDA margin of 14%-15% and debt to EBITDA at 1.5x-2.0x
in the next few years as it maintains solid operating cash flows.

S&P said, "Tupy's upgrade reflects our expectation that the company
will continue posting solid revenue growth in the next few years
through the increasing sales and production of commercial vehicles
in Brazil, which continues to recover after several years of
decline during the economic downturn. Additionally, Tupy should
register revenue growth from external operations, stemming from the
Brazilian real's depreciation and higher prices compensating the
expected slight volume decline this year because of weakening
production of off-road vehicles in the U.S. We also expect some
profitability improvements from the company's continued focus on
cost control and increasing share of higher-margin products in its
portfolio, which should lift cash flow generation in the next

The company has been changing its product mix, with an increasing
share of higher value-added products such as fully machined and
Compacted Graphite Iron (CGI) products. The manufacture of these
products required some pre-operational expenses, which resulted in
some profitability pressure at the end of 2018 and early 2019. S&P
expects these trends to bolster EBITDA margin in the next years,
above the 14% ratio registered in 2018.

S&P said, "We expect Tupy to maintain a stable debt level in the
next few years, because increasing operating cash flows should be
sufficient to cover its current capex plan and high dividends
payouts. Assuming no substantial expansions or acquisitions, we
expect continued leverage reduction, with debt to EBITDA trending
to about 1.5x in 2020. As a result, we revised our financial risk
profile assessment on the company to intermediate from


BANCOLOMBIA SA: S&P Alters Outlook to Pos. & Affirms BB+/B ICRs
S&P Global Ratings revised its outlook on Bancolombia S.A. y
Companias Subordinadas (Bancolombia) to positive from stable, and
affirmed its long-term 'BB+' and short-term 'B' issuer credit
ratings (ICRs) on the company. S&P said, "At the same time, given
that we view Bancolombia Panama S.A. and Banistmo S.A. as core
subsidiaries to Bancolombia, we changed their outlooks to positive
from stable and affirmed our 'BB+/B' ICRs on both entities. We also
affirmed our 'BB+' issue-level rating on Banistmo's $500 million
senior unsecured notes due 2022."

Bancolombia's outlook revision follows its improving consolidated
capitalization metrics driven by continuous internal capital
accumulation and the lower increase of its risk-weighted exposures
compared to our previous expectations. The latter is supported by
fairly stable net income results and improving economic risks of
some countries where Bancolombia operates (Panama and El Salvador).
S&P reflects this in its forecasted RAC ratio of 5.16%, on average,
for the next 24 months compared to our previous forecast of 4.8%.

The ratings also incorporate the bank's leading market position in
the Colombian banking system and sound operations in Central
America that support its business stability. A well-diversified
loan portfolio in terms of geography and sectors, and asset quality
metrics in line with competitors in the domestic banking system,
underpin its risk profile. The ratings also consider that
Bancolombia's large and stable deposit base continues to support
its funding structure. In S&P's opinion, the bank has sufficient
liquidity to cover expected and unexpected cash flows in the near
future. Its stand-alone credit profile (SACP) remains 'bb+'. S&P
considers Bancolombia Panama and Banistmo as core entities of their
ultimate parent, Bancolombia, which views Panama as a strategic
growth market and has continued to develop its presence in Central

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

EMPRESA GENERADORA: S&P Affirms 'BB-' ICR, Outlook Still Stable
S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'BB-' issuer credit and issue-level
ratings on Empresa Generadora de Electricidad Itabo S.A. The 'bb'
stand-alone credit profile (SACP) remains unchanged.

The stable outlook mirrors that on the Dominican Republic, as well
as our expectations of the company's strong credit metrics in the
next 12 months. The 'BB-' rating on Itabo reflects that the ratings
on the Dominican Republic (BB-/Stable/B) will continue to limit the
ratings on Itabo. In S&P's view, the company would not be able to
withstand a sovereign stress scenario given that the country's
electricity sector heavily depends on subsidies from the
government, which it believes would affect Itabo's cash flow

The stable outlook reflects that on the sovereign. It also reflects
its expectation that in the next 12 months, the company will
maintain a debt-to-EBITDA ratio of less than 1.5x and FFO to debt
above 55%.


GUATEMALA: S&P Assigns 'BB-' Rating on US$1.2BB Sr. Unsec. Notes
S&P Global Ratings assigned its 'BB-' issue rating on Guatemala's
US$1.2 billion senior unsecured notes, US$500 million due in May
2029 and US$700 million due in May 2049. Guatemala will use the
proceeds from the issuance to pay interest and principal on its
outstanding debt obligations and the remainder to finance social
and infrastructure programs and capital expenditures. The rating on
the notes is the same as the long-term foreign currency sovereign
credit rating on Guatemala.

S&P said, "Our ratings on Guatemala reflect our opinion that
recurrent political instability and weak government institutions
continue to affect Guatemala's economic growth prospects. GDP
growth at the current level would be insufficient to consistently
reduce the country's poverty level. On the other hand, we expect
that a limited fiscal deficit and a balanced current account over
the next two years will lead to a low debt level. Additionally,
sound monetary policy would keep inflation within target."

  Ratings List


  Foreign Currency BB-/Stable/B
  Local Currency       BB/Stable/B

  New Rating


  Senior Unsecured BB-


PETROLEOS MEXICANOS: President Obrador's Refinery Plan Criticized
Eduard Ribas at EFE reports that Mexican President Andres Manuel
Lopez Obrador's plans for getting heavily indebted state oil
company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) back on track and achieving
energy self-sufficiency through construction of a new $8 billion
refinery have sparked criticism from some analysts.

Pemex has financial debt of more than $106 billion and $64 billion
in pension liabilities, making it the world's most indebted oil
company, EFE discloses.

Over the last few decades, the company's production has plummeted
from 3.4 million barrels per day during the 2000-2006 presidency of
Vicente Fox to its current level of 1.67 million bpd, EFE notes.

The company's weakness stems from the "manner in which it has been
managed over the past 40 years," Luis Serra, executive director of
the Energy Initiative at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and
Higher Education's School of Government and Public Transformation,
told EFE on
May 24, adding that these problems amount to an "explosive

According to EFE, he said Pemex has been used by successive
governments as a "short-term budget balancer," with practically all
of the profits it obtained being taken from the company in the form
of taxes, EFE relates.

"This prevents Pemex from using the large revenues it has and
allocating them to activities that can lead to future revenues,"
such as developing new oil fields, Mr. Serra, as cited by EFE,

Additionally, 90% of Pemex's debt is dollar-denominated, meaning
that the amount Pemex owes automatically rises if the peso
depreciates against the greenback, EFE states.

The left-wing Lopez Obrador, who took office last December, has
announced a plan to reduce Pemex's tax burden in a bid to ensure it
has the resources to develop new fields and boost output, EFE

Mr. Lopez Obrador, who wants Mexico to stop importing gasoline from
abroad in three years, has unveiled a plan to build a refinery at
the southeastern port of Dos Bocas, located in his home state of
Tabasco, EFE relays.

But early this month, his administration voided the bidding process
for the refinery, saying that the four private consortiums invited
to participate submitted bids that were above the government's $8
billion budget, EFE notes.

Instead, the federal government and Pemex will build the refinery,
EFE says.  Construction work will start in July and is to be
completed in 2022 at a cost of $8 billion, although experts say
both the timeframe and the cost are unrealistic, EFE discloses.

According to EFE, the expert said the refinery would not come close
to producing the 600,000 bpd of gasoline that Mexico currently
imports and therefore not enable the country to achieve energy

In remarks to EFE, energy consultant David Shields questioned the
project on both technical and economic grounds and said it was to
be built on land that is vulnerable to flooding, EFE relays.

He also said the use of public funds will provoke a very large
long-term fiscal hole, noting that Fitch Ratings in January
downgraded Pemex's credit ratings to the lowest investment grade,
EFE notes.

According to EFE, Mr. Shields said ratings agencies want to see the
company embark upon exploration projects that will lead to future

The experts agreed that the only way Pemex can fund new oil
exploration projects is by partnering with private companies, EFE

                         *      *      *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on October 2016,
Mexican Petroleum filed its report on form 6-K, disclosing a net
loss of MXN145.47 billion on MXN480.70 billion of total sales for
the six-month period ended June 30, 2016, compared to a net loss of
MXN185.18 billion on MXN588.36 billion of total sales for the same
period in the prior year.  As of June 30, 2016, the Company had
MXN2.05 trillion in total assets, MXN3.50 trillion in total
liabilities and a total stockholders' deficit of MXN1.44 trillion.
The Company has experienced recurring losses from its operations
and have negative working capital and negative equity, which raises
substantial doubt regarding its ability to continue as a going

P U E R T O   R I C O

EM POLICIA: Seeks to Hire Nilda M. Gonzalez Cordero as Attorney
EM Policia Privada, Inc. seeks authority from U.S. Bankruptcy Court
for the District of Puerto Rico to hire Nilda Gonzalez-Cordero Law
Offices as its legal counsel.

The firm will provide these services in connection with the
Debtor's Chapter 11 case:

     a. advise Debtor of its duties, powers and responsibilities in
its bankruptcy case under the laws of the United States and Puerto

     b. advise the Debtor whether a reorganization is feasible and,
if not, help the Debtor in the orderly liquidation of its assets;

     c. negotiate with creditors in the formulation of a plan of
reorganization or in the liquidation of its assets.

The firm will charge $200 per hour for the services of its attorney
and $75 per hour for paralegal services.

Nilda Gonzalez-Cordero, Esq., disclosed in court filings that she
and her staff are "disinterested persons" as defined in Section
101(14) of the Bankruptcy Code.

The attorney can be reached at:

     Nilda M. Gonzalez-Cordero, Esq.
     Nilda Gonzalez-Cordero Law Offices
     P.O. Box 3389
     Guaynabo, PR 00970
     Tel. (787) 721-3437 / (787) 724-2480
     E-mail address:

                    About EM Policia Privada, Inc.

Based in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, EM Policia Privada, Inc. filed a
petition under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code (Bankr. D.P.R.
Case No. 19-02293) on April 26, 2019, listing under $1 million in
both assets and liabilities. The Debtor is represented by
NildaGonzalez-Cordero Law Offices.

LABORATORIO ACROPOLIS: Taps Gloria Justiniano Irizarry as Counsel
Laboratorio Acropolis, Inc. seeks authority from the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court for the District of Puerto Rico to employ the Law
Office of Gloria Justiniano Irizarry as its legal counsel.

The firm will provide these services in connection with the
Debtor's Chapter 11 case:  

   a. examine documents of the Debtor and other necessary
information to prepare its schedules of assets and liabilities and
statements of financial affairs;

   b. prepare the Debtor's disclosure statement and plan of

   c. identify and prosecute claims and causes of action on behalf
of the Debtor;

   d. examine proofs of claim filed and to be filed in the Debtor's
bankruptcy case;

   e. advise the Debtor and prepare documents in connection with
the ongoing operation of its business; and

   g. advise the Debtor and prepare documents in connection with
the liquidation of assets of the bankruptcy estate, including
analysis and collection of outstanding receivables.

The firm will be paid at these hourly rates:

     Partner                    $250
     Associates                 $125
     Paralegal                  $50

Justiniano Irizarry was paid a retainer in the amount of $3,000 and
will receive reimbursement for work-related expenses.

The firm is a "disinterested person" as defined in Section 101(14)
of the Bankruptcy Code and does not represent any interest adverse
to the Debtor and its estate, according to court filings.

Justiniano Irizarry can be reached at:

     Gloria Justiniano Irizarry, Esq.
     Law Office of Gloria Justiniano Irizarry
     Calle A. Ramirez Silva, Suite 8
     Mayaguez, PR 00680-4714
     Tel: (787) 831-3577

                    About Laboratorio Acropolis

Laboratorio Acropolis, Inc. was incorporated in 2004 to purchase as
a going concern a business named "Laboratorio Acropolis," a
provider of clinical laboratory services.

Laboratorio Acropolis sought protection under Chapter 11 of the
Bankruptcy Code (Bankr. D.P.R. Case No. 19-02601) on May 8, 2019.

The Debtor previously filed a Chapter 11 petition (Bankr. D.P.R.
Case No. 16-04609) on June 9, 2016.  At the time of the filing, the
Debtor had estimated assets of less than $500,000 and liabilities
of between $1 million and $10 million.

Judge Mildred Caban Flores presides over the case.


PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Fleet Operator Seeks to Detain Tankers
German shipping firm Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) has
moved to legally detain three of Petroleos de Venezuela S.A.
(PDVSA)'s oil tankers to collect on late payments owed to it by the
state-run oil company, according to a document seen by Reuters and
sources close to the decision.

Reuters say PDVSA has struggled for years to pay its bills due to
falling crude output and limited cash flow, leaving it owing
numerous firms worldwide. That was even before the United States in
late January imposed tough sanctions on Venezuela's oil exports,
which have since dropped by more than 40 percent.

BSM operated 13 of the 32 tankers owned by PDVSA and two Very Large
Crude Carriers (VLCCs) jointly owned by PDVSA and PetroChina,
according to the companies, Reuters relays. In March, BSM started
withdrawing staff from PDVSA's tankers to reduce its exposure to
Venezuela and later returned some of them to the firm.

According to Reuters, Hamburg-based BSM is now looking to arrest -
the legal term for preventing a ship from moving, but short of an
outright seizure - the three tankers in question over debt
accumulated by PDVSA.

"Due to the substantial fees due to BSM from owners we have placed
arrest on three of the tankers, the Arita in Singapore and the
Parnaso and Rio Arauca which are both in Lisbon, Portugal," said a
letter distributed internally by BSM this month.

PDVSA crude and fuel exports have dropped to around 800,000 barrels
per day (bpd) so far in May, down from 1.4 million bpd just before
sanctions, Reuters discloses citing PDVSA's trade documents and
Refinitiv Eikon data.

Reuters notes that BSM is not the only maritime firm taking action
against PDVSA. U.S.-based shipbroker McQuilling Partners in March
ended a contract for providing four tankers to PDVSA, citing

The two maritime services firms handled a large portion of vessels
leased and owned by PDVSA. Without them, Venezuela is limited in
its ability to store oil, move cargoes between ports internally,
and even export to certain destinations.

On April 6, the Arita, owned by PDVSA's subsidiary Albanave and
operated by a unit of BSM, was detained in Singapore by law firm
Gurbani & Co on behalf of BSM, according to the country's Supreme
Court website and a source familiar with the matter, Reuters

Reuters relates that BSM's attempt to arrest the Parnaso and the
Rio Arauca in Portugal has been more complicated. Those two vessels
have been moored in that country's waters since 2017 due to
disputes with shipping firms and fuel providers in Portugal, along
with Lisbon's Port Authority.

BSM, Lisbon Port Authority and PDVSA's maritime unit PDV Marina
declined to comment. PDVSA did not respond to a request for
comment. In March, it said its relationship with BSM had not

The amount owed by PDV Marina to BSM globally at the end of 2018
was at least $15 million, according to a source at the company and
another document seen by Reuters early this year.

The Arita, an Aframax vessel that can hold up to 700,000 barrels of
oil, has not navigated much since it first set sail at the end of
2017, as it was hampered by a dispute between PDVSA and Iranian
shipyard Sadra that kept it from being used, Reuters says.
Following a few trips to China and Indonesia in 2018, it has
remained in Singapore since April with its engine "immobilized,"
according to Refinitiv Eikon tanker tracking data.

                       Few Options For PDVSA

BSM has returned four vessels to PDVSA and plans to return another
nine by the end of June, but the process "has proven to be
challenging and time consuming," the company said in the internal
letter, Reuters reports. The two VLCCs jointly owned by PDVSA and
PetroChina have not been included in the plans.

Reuters adds that PDVSA has struggled to hire maritime services due
to sanctions and mounting bills. It has started talks with a
Venezuela-based firm, Blue Oceanic Services CA, for placing crew
and supplying food and provisions to some tankers, the same source

In recent weeks, PDVSA has asked some tankers to switch off
transponders while in Venezuelan or Cuban waters, which could be to
avoid detection due to U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan shipments,
Reuters reports citing captains, inspectors and shipping sources.
It has also sought to beef up security by putting military officers
on certain vessels, the company said.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on Aug.
24, 2018, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'SD' global scale issuer
credit rating and 'D' issue-level ratings on Petroleos de Venezuela


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