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Venezuela Flag of Venezuela

Arrival:  Pilots
Communications:  Pratique | Pre-Arrival
Facilities:  Medical
Security:  Emergency | Piracy
Local Info:  Time | Holidays | Weather
Shore:  Banks
Crew:  Leave | Repatriation
Misc:  General | Authority
Report:  Report
General Information for Venezuela
Geo-political:
Capital City: Caracas. 10° 29.0′ N, 066° 52.0′ W
Nationality: (noun) Venezuelan(s), (adjective) Venezuelan.
Population: 28,644,603 (July 2020).
Communications:
International Direct Dial Code: 58.
Number of Internal Airports: 444 (2013).
Major Languages Spoken: Spanish (official) and numerous indigenous dialects.
Economy:
Currency: 1 Venezuelan Bolivar Soberano (VES) of 100 Centimos.
Exchange Rates:  (as of March 2021)
USD 1.00 = VES 1,843,091.50
Exchange rates under licence from XE.com
Main Industries: Agricultural products, livestock, raw materials, machinery, equipment, transport equipment, construction materials, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, iron, steel products, crude oil and petroleum products.
Agricultural Products: Corn, sorghum, sugarcane, rice, bananas, vegetables, coffee, beef, pork, milk, eggs and fish.
Imports: Agricultural products, livestock, raw materials, machinery, equipment, transport equipment, construction materials, medical equipment, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, iron and steel products.
Exports: Petroleum, petroleum products, bauxite, aluminum, minerals, chemicals and agricultural products.
Commodities: Crude: Production 1,484,000 bbl/d. Exports 1,656,000 bbl/d. Reserves 302,300,000,000 bbl. Products: Production 926,300 bbl/d. Exports 325,800 bbl/d. Imports 20,640 bbl/d. LNG: Production 27,070,000,000 cu.m.. Reserves 5,739,000,000,000 cu.m..
Environment:
Territorial Sea: 12 n.m.
Contiguous Zone: Contiguous Zone: 15 n.m. Continental Shelf: 200 m. Exclusive Economic Zone: 200 n.m.
Coastline Extent: 2,800 km.
Climate: Tropical; hot, humid; more moderate in highlands.
Natural Resources: Petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, bauxite, other minerals, hydropower and diamonds.
Natural Hazards: Subject to floods, rockslides, mudslides and periodic droughts.
Terrain: Andes Mountains and Maracaibo Lowlands in northwest; central plains (llanos); Guiana Highlands in southeast.
Average Temperatures: 
Month High Low
January 23° C 13° C
June 25° C 15° C
September 26° C 15° C
PILOTAGE:  Service provided by Instituto Nacional de los Espacios Acuaticos (INEA) and available throughout 24 hours, subject to local port operating hours. Pilotage exemption is available, provided certain conditions are met. Full script of Pilot Service Regulations (in Spanish) is available in pdf format at www.inea.gob.ve/ineaWEB/ In the ``Marco Legal'' section, search for Reglamento del Servicio de Pilotaje.
PRATIQUE:  The Pan American Sanitary Code:  Established by the signatory governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, United States of America, Uruguay, and Venezuela, being desirous of entering into a sanitary convention for the purpose of better promoting and protecting the public health of their respective nations, and particularly to the end that effective cooperative international measures may be applied for the prevention of the international spread of the communicable infections of human beings and to facilitate international commerce and communication. Full details available from the Pan American Health Organization website. www.paho.org/
Bills of Health: The Master of any vessel or aircraft which proceeds to a port of any of the signatory governments is required to obtain at the port of departure and ports of call, a Bill of Health, in duplicate, issued in accordance with the information set forth in the appendix and adopted as the standard Bill of Health.The Bill of Health will be accompanied by a list of the passengers, and stowaways if any, which shall indicate the port where they embarked and the port to which they are destined, and a list of the crew.Consuls and other officials signing or countersigning Bills of Health should keep themselves accurately informed with respect to the sanitary conditions of the ports, and the manner in which this code is obeyed by vessels and their passengers and crews while therein. They should have accurate knowledge of local mortality and morbidity, and of sanitary conditions which may affect vessels in port. To this end, they shall be furnished with any information they request pertaining to sanitary records, harbours, and vessels.The signatory governments may assign medical or sanitary officers as public health attaches to embassies or legations, and as representatives to international conferences.If at the port of departure there is no consul or consular agent of the country of destination, the Bill of Health may be issued by the consul or consular agent of a friendly government authorised to issue such Bill of Health.The Bill of Health should be issued not to exceed 48 hours before the departure of the ship to which it is issued. The sanitary visa should not be given more than 24 hours before departure.Any erasure or alteration of a Bill of Health shall invalidate the document, unless such alteration or erasure shall be made by competent authority, and notation thereof appropriately made.A clean Bill of Health is one which shows the complete absence in the port of departure of cholera, yellow fever, plague, typhus fever, or of other pestilential disease in severe epidemic form, liable to be transported by international commerce. Provided that the presence only of bona fide imported cases of such disease, when properly isolated, shall not compel the issuance of a foul Bill of Health, but notation of the presence of such cases will be made under the heading of "Remarks" on the Bill of Health.A foul Bill of Health is one which shows the presence of non-imported cases of any of the diseases referred to in 8. above.Specific Bills of Health are not required of vessels which, by reason of accident, storm or other emergency condition, including wireless change of itinerary, are obliged to put into ports other than their original destinations, but such vessels shall be required to exhibit such Bills of Health as they possess.It shall be the duty of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau to publish appropriate information which may be distributed by port health officers, for the purpose of instructing owners, agents, and masters of vessels as to the methods which should be put in force by them for the prevention of the international spread of disease.
  1. The Master of any vessel or aircraft which proceeds to a port of any of the signatory governments is required to obtain at the port of departure and ports of call, a Bill of Health, in duplicate, issued in accordance with the information set forth in the appendix and adopted as the standard Bill of Health.
  2. The Bill of Health will be accompanied by a list of the passengers, and stowaways if any, which shall indicate the port where they embarked and the port to which they are destined, and a list of the crew.
  3. Consuls and other officials signing or countersigning Bills of Health should keep themselves accurately informed with respect to the sanitary conditions of the ports, and the manner in which this code is obeyed by vessels and their passengers and crews while therein. They should have accurate knowledge of local mortality and morbidity, and of sanitary conditions which may affect vessels in port. To this end, they shall be furnished with any information they request pertaining to sanitary records, harbours, and vessels.
  4. The signatory governments may assign medical or sanitary officers as public health attaches to embassies or legations, and as representatives to international conferences.
  5. If at the port of departure there is no consul or consular agent of the country of destination, the Bill of Health may be issued by the consul or consular agent of a friendly government authorised to issue such Bill of Health.
  6. The Bill of Health should be issued not to exceed 48 hours before the departure of the ship to which it is issued. The sanitary visa should not be given more than 24 hours before departure.
  7. Any erasure or alteration of a Bill of Health shall invalidate the document, unless such alteration or erasure shall be made by competent authority, and notation thereof appropriately made.
  8. A clean Bill of Health is one which shows the complete absence in the port of departure of cholera, yellow fever, plague, typhus fever, or of other pestilential disease in severe epidemic form, liable to be transported by international commerce. Provided that the presence only of bona fide imported cases of such disease, when properly isolated, shall not compel the issuance of a foul Bill of Health, but notation of the presence of such cases will be made under the heading of "Remarks" on the Bill of Health.
  9. A foul Bill of Health is one which shows the presence of non-imported cases of any of the diseases referred to in 8. above.
  10. Specific Bills of Health are not required of vessels which, by reason of accident, storm or other emergency condition, including wireless change of itinerary, are obliged to put into ports other than their original destinations, but such vessels shall be required to exhibit such Bills of Health as they possess.
  11. It shall be the duty of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau to publish appropriate information which may be distributed by port health officers, for the purpose of instructing owners, agents, and masters of vessels as to the methods which should be put in force by them for the prevention of the international spread of disease.
Other Sanitary Documents:  Every vessel, carrying a medical officer will maintain a sanitary log which will be kept by him, and he will record therein daily: the sanitary condition of the vessel, and its passengers and crew; a record showing the names of passengers and crew which have been vaccinated by him; name, age, nationality, home address, occupation and nature of illness or injury of all passengers and crew treated during the voyage; the source and sanitary quality of the drinking water of the vessel, the place where taken on board, and the method in use on board for its purification; sanitary conditions observed in ports visited during the voyage; the measures taken to prevent the ingress and egress of rodents to and from the vessel; and the measures which have been taken to protect the passengers and crew against mosquitoes, other insects, and vermin. The sanitary log will be signed by the Master and medical officer of the vessel, and will be exhibited upon the request of any sanitary or consular officer. In the absence of a medical officer, the master shall record the above information in the log of the vessel, insofar as possible.
Equal or similar forms for Quarantine Declarations, Certificates of Fumigation, and Certificates of Vaccination, set forth in the appendix (not reproduced), are hereby adopted as standard forms.
PRE-ARRIVAL INFORMATION:  By law, the maritime authority is the Capitania de Puerto. Each region has one (i.e. La Guaira, Guanta Pto La Cruz, Margarita). Foreign vessels should contact the Capitania de Puerto to request Customs & Immigration.
Capitanias de Puerto:  Capitania de Puerto de Carupano. Pedro Simon Gomez Villaroel. T: +58 (294) 331 1229. carupano@inea.gob.ve
Capitania de Puerto de Guiria. Luis Vilchez Avendano. Tel: +58 (294) 982 1034. guiria@inea.gob.ve
Capitania de Puerto de La Ceiba. Mario Pichel Ocanto. Tel: +58 (271) 668 2031. laceiba@inea.gob.ve
Capitania de Puerto de La Guaira. Isaac Jordan Escobar. T: +58 (212) 332 3115, 332 0051, 332 6148. laguaira@inea.gob.ve
Capitania de Puerto de Las Piedras. Jose Avelino Goncalves Goncalves. Tel: +58 (269) 246 2007. laspiedras@inea.gob.ve
Capitania de Puerto de Maracaibo. Carlos Gallardo Arellano. Tel: +58 (261) 721 1887. maracaibo@inea.gob.ve
Capitania de Puerto de Puerto Cabello. Miguel Figueroa Adrian. T: +58 (242) 361 8448, 361 7168, 361 6353. ptocabello@inea.gob.ve
Capitania de Puerto de Puerto La Cruz. Javier Marcano La Roche. T: +58 (281) 267 7932, 267 7452, 263 0194. ptolacruz@inea.gob.ve
Capitania de Puerto de Puerto Sucre. Jose Miguel Carrasquel. Tel: +58 (293) 432 1971. ptosucre@inea.gob.ve
MEDICAL:  Medical facilities in Venezuela vary widely in quality. In large cities, private clinics provide good quality care for routine treatments. More complex treatments may require evacuation to Miami. Make sure you have adequate insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. Public health facilities are poor, with frequent shortages of medicines and funding. This is a problem reflected nationwide, and exacerbated outside major cities by the great distances involved in reaching them.
Tap water is considered unsafe to drink. You should drink or use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks.
A Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is not a requirement to enter Venezuela, but there have been cases where officials have illegitimately fined travellers who have been unable to produce such a certificate. Some airlines travelling to Venezuela will insist you have a yellow fever vaccination before boarding the plane unless you can produce your vaccination certificate. You are advised to check with your airline before travelling to Venezuela.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial one of the following numbers – 171; Digitel – 112; Movilnet – 1; Movistar – 911 and ask for an ambulance.
Also see General
EMERGENCY RESPONSE CENTRE:  National Organization for Rescue and Maritime Safety of the Aquatic Areas of Venezuela (ONSA AC) is a civilian, non-governmental and non-profit association, dedicated to:
  1. the support and cooperation of the respective authorities in carrying the tasks of maritime safety, navigation and ecological balance
  2. to perform search and rescue operations at sea, waterways and other aquatic areas nationwide; and
  3. to encourage the development of the system and the organization of rescue and maritime safety in National Waters with the end of contributing in the preservation of human lives at sea and the protection of the Marine Environment.
The Venezuelan Coast Guard is a support entity for control and inspections. Their ships are painted grey, mostly because they are military vessels. The Coast Guard listens on VHF Channel 16 throughout 24 hours, although in reality, it can sometimes be difficult to get a response. No English speaking is reported by radio operators.
There are other entities that are also related with the control and inspection of vessels, such as the National Guard; its maritime division, known as Vigilancia Costera, is involved particularly with drug and Customs inspections.
Contact:  National Organization for Rescue and Maritime Safety of the Aquatic Areas of Venezuela. Tel: +58 (212) 715 7105. info@onsa.org.ve www.onsa.org.ve/
PIRACY:  There have been incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships and small vessels in and around Venezuela's waters, especially east of Puerto La Cruz and in waters between Venezuela and Trinidad; Puerto la Cruz anchorage, whilst at anchor, robbers boarded a tanker removing stores from the forecastle. Alarm raised and robbers escaped with stolen stores.
Mariners are advised to take appropriate precautions and avoid these areas if possible. The Venezuelan Coast Guard has substantial assets patrolling coastal waters.
Piracy Reporting Centre:  PRC Kuala Lumpur. Tel: +60 (3) 2031 0014. Fax: +60 (3) 2078 5769. piracy@icc-ccs.org www.icc-ccs.org/
Venezuelan Coast Guard:  Tel: +58 (212) 332 7387. Fax: +58 (212) 2332 2891. opecguard@hotmail.com www.armada.com.mil.ve/
Situation Report (SITREP):  PRC Malaysia broadcasts SITREP reports to vessels at 0000 GMT via Inmarsat C (Satellite) EGC Safety Net. However, vessels in some parts of the world, that are not considered at risk from piracy, will not receive these messages.
TIME:  GMT minus 4 hours.
LOCAL HOLIDAYS:  By order of the local Port authorities, it is requested that all ships in port be fully dressed on the following holidays: January 1 (New Year's Day); April 19 (Declaration of Independence); June 21 (Merchant Marine Day); July 5 (Independence Day); July 24 (Birth date of General Simon Bolivar); October 12 (Columbus Day); December 25 (Christmas Day).
WEATHER/TIDES:  The Atlantic hurricane season runs from 1 June to 30 November, and can affect portions of northern Venezuela. Venezuela is not prone to tropical cyclones, but can occasionally be hit, impacting on coastal regions articularly, with torrential rain, powerful winds, high waves and storm surges. Caracas would probably experience heavy rains, but be largely sheltered from any cyclone as it is protected by the Avila mountain range; cyclones also lose their strength as they move over land.
Natural Disasters:  Venezuela is vulnerable to earthquakes; you should monitor media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities.
Also see General
BANKS:  Strict currency controls are in place in Venezuela. Bureaux de change, including at airports, will exchange US Dollars for Bolivars (VEB). USD and USD travellers' cheques (American Express) are accepted at most Italcambios (bureaux de change) offices throughout Venezuela.
You are advised to exchange currency at official currency exchange booths only and not to use the black market. Travellers may be approached at airports by individuals offering to exchange foreign currency and those who have done so have in some cases been left with forged local currency. There is no facility for changing VEB to USD, or any other currency, when leaving Venezuela; travellers should consider only changing the required amount to avoid having leftover VEB.
In most towns and all major cities, international credit cards (Visa and Mastercard) are accepted. However, it can be difficult to withdraw cash from ATMs with foreign bank cards. Branches of Banco Mercantil and Banesco have worked for some travellers. Sometimes the ATM will ask you for a 2 digit identification number, after you have selected the amount to withdraw. If you are asked for this, input 00, and it should work. (This is a security measure as all Venezuelan bank cards are linked to an identity document). Travellers should be aware there is also a serious problem with credit card fraud and cards being "cloned." You are advised to exercise caution whenever you are using your credit or debit cards.
Also see General
SHORE LEAVE:  It is advisable not to travel to within 80 km. of the Colombian border in the states of Zulia, Tachire and Apure, and all but essential travel to the remainder of Tachira state. You should take care in the rest of Apure state. Drug traffickers and illegal armed groups are active in these states and kidnappings are common.
Kidnappings occur in Venezuela. Although most kidnap victims are Venezuelan residents, foreigners have also been victims. You are advised to remain alert at all times. ``Express kidnappings'' - short-term, opportunistic abductions, aimed at extracting cash from victims by obtaining a relatively small ransom also occur in Venezuela. This type of crime has increased in all major cities within Venezuela but with higher levels reported in Caracas. The duration of the captivity can vary from an hour to approximately 24 hours.
Incidents of violent armed muggings and express kidnappings have been on the increase in, and around, Caracas airport. Travellers should exercise caution when travelling through the airport.
There is a high risk of street crime (often armed) throughout Venezuela, especially in the major cities and on beaches, including on the popular tourist island of Margarita where there have been several incidents of armed robbery. Resistance to robbery has resulted in victims being shot dead. You should exercise caution at all times.
You should remain vigilant and be aware that common crimes such as mugging and pickpocketing are often accompanied by violence. When walking in urban areas, avoid any unnecessary display of wealth, including visibly displaying your mobile or smartphone. Exercise caution if you choose to make or receive calls. You can reduce the possibility of your phone being detected by criminals by switching off functions such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The risk of crime is higher after dark.
Do not accept pamphlets in the street or major shopping centres, as there have been incidents of these having been impregnated with potent and disorienting drugs which permeate the skin. Drinks have also been spiked – do not accept food or drink from strangers who may befriend you in bars or restaurants.
When taking a taxi in Caracas, or other towns or cities, it is advisable to use only pre-booked taxis rather than hailing them in the street. There have been cases of passengers being robbed at gunpoint by bogus taxi-drivers at Simon Bolivar Maiquetia Airport and being ``express kidnapped''. You are advised not to board a taxi if there are other passengers already inside the car.
Visitors should be aware that the waters of the Caribbean can be deceptive. There are strong currents and undertows in some areas that can make swimming hazardous. Lifeguards and warnings are not always in place. Caution is necessary.
Also see General
REPATRIATION:  The National Guard have increased random drug and security checks at Simon Bolivar Maiquetia Airport. Passengers are being asked by genuine officials to open their luggage for inspection or to accompany an officer to a local hospital for an x-ray. This is a routine security procedure but it has led to some passengers missing their flights. If you are travelling on an international flight you are advised to arrive at the airport at least 3 hours before departure in order to allow time for security procedures.
The airport itself can be a dangerous place. Be on your guard for bogus officials luring you into a quiet corner on the pretence of carrying out extra security checks. If approached by an officer purporting to be an airport official, even if they are in uniform and/or present credentials, you should try to ensure that you remain in a busy area of the airport and, if possible, check with other airport or airline staff that the official is genuine. There have been reports of a number of passengers being attacked or robbed when returning to their cars at the airport car park. You are advised to remain vigilant at all times. If you are coming to Venezuela to work, we advise that you bring with you a letter from your employer and your local contact organisation details (including a Spanish translation), as there have been occasions when passengers have been hassled for bribes.
The Venezuelan Nationality and Citizenship Law requires any dual national Venezuelan to use their Venezuelan identity documents to enter, reside in and leave the country.
GENERAL:  Information obtained from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office website. Updates available from www.gov.uk/fco/
AUTHORITY:  Head Office:  Instituto Nacional de los Espacios Acuaticos, Avenida Orinoco, entre Calle Perija y Mucuchies, Edificio 678 INEA, Municipio Baruta, Estado Miranda, Venezuela. T: +58 (212) 909 1528. F: +58 (212) 909 1528. www.inea.gob.ve Contact: Manuel Fernandes C, Jefa de la Oficina de Asuntos Acuaticos Int'l.