17 January 2020
After the recently published Decree No. 4.096 dated 14 January 2020 (the “Decree”), the Institute of Aquatic Spaces, (the “Venezuelan Maritime Authority” or “INEA” for its acronym in Spanish), summoned all Venezuelan Shipping Agencies to an urgent meeting to discuss the payment to INEA in the so called Venezuelan crypto-currency Petros. The event took place this Friday 17 January 2020 with the attendance of INEA’s President Cesar Romero Salazar.
The Decree entered into force on the date of its publication and ordered that all “decentralized services and entities of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, with or without business purposes, creditors of payments in foreign currency as a result of fees, contributions, tariffs, commissions, surcharges and public prices, should proceed to liquidate and charge for such obligations in Petros”.
Article 4(e) of the Decree expressly refers to INEA in stating: “the tariffs for services provided by the Institute of Aquatic Spaces (INEA) referred to in the First Final Provision of the Resolution of the Ministry of Transportation No. 033 dated 2 May 2018, published in Official Gazette No. 41.389 of 3 May 2018.” (the “Resolution”).
In turn, the Resolution on the relevantprovision states:
“[…] FIRST. The tariffs set forth in this Resolution shall be paid to the National Institute of Aquatic Spaces in the established currency or its equivalent in the multi-currency system adopted by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in accordance with the Law, for services such as pilotage, towage, launch service, refloating services, custody and logistic launches provided to foreign flagged vessels. Other fees will be paid in Bolivares at the exchange rate pursuant to the corresponding exchange regulation in force on the date on which the service was performed, or the date of the request for the procedure, as applicable. «
Therefore, the services therein referred, rendered to foreign flagged vessels must be paid exclusively in Petros to INEA.
The goal of the meeting that took place at INEA on this date, was for all Shipping Agencies to be briefed on the details of this new payment system. In principle, INEA will implement this payment system starting Monday 20 January 2020, with the exception of pending debts that were already agreed to be settled by proxy agreements.
The event was attended by the President of INEA, Mr. Cesar Romero Salazar, some representatives of the Superintendence of Crypto-actives (“SUNACRIP” for its acronym in Spanish), and the Collections Department of INEA as well as other Managers of The Venezuelan Maritime Authority.Many Shipping Agencies from all over the country attendedthe meeting.
The main and most relevantissues of the event were as follows:
The Shipping Agencies must register in the “PetroApp” by filing their Tax ID, Document of Incorporation and By-Laws. Additional documents can be requested, including modifications to By-Laws and nomination of Board of Directors. Once SUNACRIP verifies the documents, they will proceed to validate and activate the “PetroWallet”. This wallet allows the use of Petros, Bitcoins, Litecoins, Dash, and other crypto-currencies. It is not required to physically attend INEA or SUNACRIP for this process.
INEA will continue to issue their payment forms for services rendered in Euros, until further notice. Nevertheless, even though the forms will be in Euros, payment must be executed mandatorily in Petros. INEA will soon make the necessary adjustments, so the forms to be issued in Petros in the near future.
SINEA, the online system of INEA, has already made available a button to pay in Petros. Therefore, once the Shipping Agency has the form available in SINEA, they may proceed to pay with their PetroWallet. No payments can be made via a Third Party’s PetroWallet.
INEA is expected to publish a digital instructive that contains a didactic explanation for the use and payment of this new system.
According to INEA, Shipping Agencies must use this system in order to continue to operate, since -as stated by its authorities- there is no other alternative mean of payment for these services. However, we note there are prior rules and regulations with higher legal hierarchy that allow for other means of payment, which continue to be in force.
INEA and SUNACRIP informed of the two alternatives, to this date, to obtain Petros. These include acquiring the digital coin through seven authorized private exchange agencies, namely: (i) Cryptocurrency Exchange; (ii) Cryptia Exchange; (iii) Bancar; (iv) Amberes Coin; (v) AFX; (vi) Criptolago; and (vii) Criptomundo. These entities will work as intermediaries in the sale and purchase of crypto-currencies; including amongst others: Petros. They are authorized by SUNACRIP and will receive Bolivares, Dollars, Euros, Bitcoins, Dash and others, to be exchanged for Petros.
The exchange agency will charge a fee for their service, which will vary between agencies. Allegedly, the rate for Petros in the exchange agencies should not be higher than that offered by SUNACRIP .
Alternatively, Petros can be purchased at the main office of SUNACRIP in Caracas, which will sell Petros in exchange for foreign currencyonly in cash.
In order to transfer the Petros, the beneficiary must have a PetroWallet with a valid and duly registered email in order for the operation to be completed. Companies or corporations that require multiple signatures to authorize the transfer of funds, will have that same option available in the PetroWallet. In those cases, all signatories will be required to authorize the transaction before it is executed.
SUNACRIP will charge a commission for their services for every transaction in the amount of 0.05% for private companies and 0.01% for public companies.
All Owners and Shipping Agencies should exercise enhanced caution with this new payment system due to the sanctions imposed by the government of the United States against the Petro.
If you require furtherinformation about this update, please contact us.