Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) has emerged as the party behind last week’s arrest of PDVSA subsidiary Albanave’s 113,000-dwt tanker Arita (built 2015, ex Sorocaima) in Singapore.

Court records indicate that BSM filed an SGD 2.6 million ($1.92m) claim against the tanker covering unpaid bunker bills, crew wages, ship chandler claims, ship repair costs and provision of services.

The arrest came several weeks after BSM, which provided technical management services to the Arita and 14 other ships owned by PDVSA including two VLCCs jointly owned by the oil company and China’s PetroChina, said it would hand back all the tankers as it had become "almost impossible" to work with vessel assets belonging to Venezuelan government.

While BSM has worked successfully in Venezuela for almost 25 years, BSM Cyprus (BSM CY) managing director Nikolaos Kretsis told TradeWinds that sanctions imposed by the US, as well as the fact that sanctions now extend outside the US, brought the company to the point where it had to stopping managing ships for the Venezuelan government.

TradeWinds understands from sources close to BSM that the sanctions were also making it difficult for PDVSA to transfer the money required to pay its invoices.

Tanker brokers say that the Arita has mostly been trading between the Middle East and China, and was returning from China at the time it was arrested.