>> As Venezuela grapples with a crippling economic crisis, the country's state oil company PDVSA is also struggling to pay its bills. PDVSA owes money across the globe leaving a trail of unpaid bills and heated disputes including debts with Turkish shipyards, half-built tankers in Iran and Brazil, and a seized oil tanker in the Caribbean.
Reuters' correspondent, Brian Ellsworth, was in St. Eustatius.>> You can see a tanker in the background there. That tanker left Venezuela in October carrying a cargo of crude that state oil company PDVSA hoped to sell for about $20 million. But the owners of that tanker seized the crude when it got here to St. Eustatius, which is a small Dutch island in the northeast of the Caribbean.
The owners of the tanker say they were owed $30 million in unpaid shipping fees. Now a judge ordered that tanker to unload its cargo to a storage facility that's at this end to the island. But our industry sources are telling us PDVSA also owe significant amounts of money to that terminal, which is owned by US energy company, NuStar.
These are just several of hundreds of companies that say they are owed millions or tens of millions of dollars by PDVSA for unpaid services.>> This latest dispute in St. Eustatius, which is being heard by the United Kingdom Admiralty Court, highlights how shipping companies are becoming increasingly aggressive in collecting on PDVSA's debts.
PDVSA's slow breakdown just the latest example of how Venezuela has steadily unravelled since the 2014 collapse of crude prices. Converting what was once a paradise of oil fueled consumption into a crisis-stricken nation desperately in need of food and medicine.