Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly claims pressure from this country was part of the reason why state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) moved to stabilise the FSO Nabarima, the storage tanker that has been at risk of spilling 1.3 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Paria.

The issue was discussed at a virtual session of the National Assembly on Tuesday and a joint statement was issued calling on the Italian oil company ENI, co-owners of the vessel with PDVSA, to transfer the crude stored in the oil tanker.

National Assembly deputies blamed Nicolás Maduro regime for the state of the Venezuelan oil industry and the multiple assets and fields PDVSA,

ENI suspended its work with PDVSA due to United States sanctions but was recently given the go-ahead to transfer the crude oil from the Nabarima.

The National Assembly urged the Italian company to attend to “the urgent recommendations of experts for the immediate transfer of the load and security of the facilities.” They will also ask the United Nations Office for Project Service and the International Maritime Organization to do an urgent inspection of the vessel,

Deputy Tobías Bolívar said the lack of maintenance had left the tanker in a deplorable condition.

“Out of 80 workers, only six remain. The worst can happen at any moment— a large-scale spill. This would cause poisoning of the Venezuelan coasts,” he warned

María Gabriela Hernández, president of the Environment Commission, said: “All of Venezuela is waiting for the Italian company ENI to successfully carry out the entire cargo manoeuvre and free us from environmental risk.”

Last month a three-member inspection team from T&T toured the vessel following local and international concerns about a potential environmental threat after it began listing to the right and taking on water in August. Government had pressed for an independent verification visit and after some delay on Venezuela’s part, finally obtained approval to inspect the Nabarima.

After the seven-hour tour, the team reported that the tanker was upright, stable and in no danger of tilting or sinking.