Ukraine’s first grain ship passes inspection in Turkey, heading to Lebanon

APTOPIX Russia-Ukraine War
The Sierra Leonean-flagged cargo ship Razoni is seen under the Yavuz Sultan Selim bridge after an inspection by Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN officials at the entrance to the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey, Wednesday, August 3, 2022 sailing.

Emrah Gurel/Associated Press

This first grain ship leave Ukraine through the black sea wartime The deal passed inspections in Istanbul on Wednesday and traveled to Lebanon. Ukraine said 17 other ships were “loaded and awaiting permission to leave,” but there was no word on when they could leave.

A joint civilian inspection team spent three hours examining the cargo and crew of the Sierra Leone-flagged ship Razoni, which left Odessa on Monday with Ukrainian corn, a UN statement said.

The joint coordination center’s team, which includes officials from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, signed a deal last month to create a secure Black Sea shipping corridor to export Ukraine’s much-needed agricultural products as Russia’s war against its neighbors rages on.

Ukraine is a major global food supplier, but the war has hampered most of its exports, so the July 22 agreement is aimed at easing global food security. World food prices have been soaring amid a crisis blamed on wars, supply chain issues and COVID-19.

Although U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called Lazzoni’s journey an “important step,” no other ships have left Ukraine in the past 48 hours, and no explanation has been given for the delay.

A UN statement said inspectors had “obtained valuable information” from the Lazoni’s crew on its voyage through the Black Sea maritime humanitarian corridor and that the coordination centre was “fine-tuning procedures”.

The Turkish Defense Ministry tweeted a photo of inspectors entering the Razoni cargo hold and touching its 26,527 tonnes of corn as chicken feed. As inspectors left the ship, the Lazoni’s horn sounded and it headed for Lebanon.

These checks are designed to ensure that outbound vessels are carrying grain, fertilizer or food and no other commodities, and incoming vessels are not carrying weapons.

An estimated 20 million tons of grains – most of which are said to go to livestock – have been trapped in Ukraine since the six-month war began. Ukraine’s top diplomat said on Wednesday that more ships were ready to move much-needed grain and food out of the country’s Black Sea ports.

“More ships are ready to go. They will leave the ports that are part of the food initiative according to the agreed timetable. We hope that everything will be fine and that the Russian Federation will not take any measures to disrupt the agreement,” said the foreign minister. Mitro Kuleba told a joint press conference in Kyiv with the Estonian foreign minister.

Kuleba said the UN-backed deal was “good for Ukrainian farmers, good for the Ukrainian economy and good for the world”.

“It is now Ukraine that has literally saved the world from further increases in food prices and starvation in individual countries,” he said.

Nonetheless, due to the war, there are still significant risks to navigating the Black Sea. According to Bridget Diakun, a data reporter for global shipping publication Lloyd’s, two civilian boats hit an explosive device last week near the mouth of the Byst estuary on the Danube.

Analysts said the top priority for the authorities was to get ships out of the three Ukrainian ports covered by the agreement for months. According to Lloyd’s Register, 16 ships laden with grain have been stranded in the ports of Odessa and Chernomorsk since the Russian invasion.

U.N. officials helping Russia negotiate with the U.N. aimed at ensuring unrestricted access to world markets for the country’s food and fertilizers say there are still many hurdles to overcome.

The United States and the European Union have clarified some of the issues Russia faces in finance, insurance, shipping and the transport of food and fertilizers, UN trade chief Rebeca Grynspan said at a UN news conference via video Wednesday in Geneva. obstacle.

But she said a major bottleneck remained: Getting the private sector to accept the U.N.-Russia deal would allow their companies to participate in shipping Russian grain and fertilizers to global markets without the threat of sanctions.

There are no U.S. or European Union sanctions on food or fertilizer exports, but companies in related fields have been reluctant to participate.

Greenspan said Russia’s war with Ukraine “had a chilling effect on the private sector.” “As a result, a significant segment of the private sector has stopped their trading in food and fertilizers.”

Greenspan, secretary-general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, said some grains and fertilizers were being exported from Russia, but at very high costs. She explained that half of the increase in food prices came from increased transportation and logistics costs.

“That’s the pressure we want to relieve,” she said.

Grynspan said the US and EU clarifications were being assessed by the private sector “as we say”.

Grain stocks are expected to continue to grow. Despite the war, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal estimates his country will harvest 67 million tonnes of grain this year, up from 60 million last year.

A senior official at a major Ukrainian agricultural association estimates that Ukraine will have about 50 million tons of grain available for export this year.

Before the war, Ukraine was exporting about 5-6 million tons of grain per month, according to Denys Marchuk, deputy chairman of the All-Ukrainian Agricultural Committee.

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