ISTANBUL: Two more ships, carrying corn and soybeans, departed from Ukrainian Black Sea ports on Monday, Turkey and Ukraine said, taking the total to ten since the first ship sailed last week under a deal with Russia to unblock Ukrainian grain exports.
The United Nations and Turkey brokered the agreement last month after warnings the halt in grain shipments caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could lead to severe food shortages and even outbreaks of famine in parts of the world.
The Sacura, which departed from Pivdennyi, is carrying 11,000 tons of soybeans to Italy, Turkey’s defense ministry said on Monday, while the Arizona, which left Chornomorsk, is carrying 48,458 tons of corn to Iskenderun in southern Turkey.
Separately, the Polarnet, which departed on Friday, reached its final destination in northwestern Turkey’s Derince on Monday morning to be unloaded, marking the completion of the first shipment since the exports were re-launched.
So far, around 243,000 tons of corn has been exported from Ukraine on seven ships since the first departure on Aug. 1, according to a Reuters tally of data from Turkey’s defense ministry.
The other ships carried 11,000 tons of soybeans, 6,000 tons of sunflower oil and 45,000 tons of sunflower meal.
Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, Oleksandr Kubrakov, confirmed the two latest ships left on Monday, adding Pivdennyi, the third Ukrainian port included in the deal, was finally up and running as part of the initiative.
Kubrakov had said previously the opening of Pivdennyi would push Ukraine’s total export capacity up to three million tons a month.
In peacetime, Ukraine exported up to six million tons of grain a month from its ports on the Black Sea and Sea of Azov coast.
The four ships that left Ukraine on Sunday are expected to anchor near Istanbul on Monday evening, Turkey’s defense ministry said, adding they would be inspected on Tuesday.
Before Russia invaded Ukraine for what it calls its “special military operation,” the two countries together accounted for nearly a third of global wheat exports.
The resumption of grain exports is being overseen by a Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul where Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN personnel are working.
The Razoni, which was the first ship to depart, was scheduled to arrive in Lebanon on Sunday but is currently at anchor off Turkey’s southern coast, according to Refinitiv ship tracker data.
Ukraine’s Infrastructure Ministry said on Sunday the Fulmar S, the first foreign-flagged bulk ship to reach the Black Sea port of Chornomorsk since the conflict, was ready for loading.
A second ship traveling to Ukraine, the Osprey S, was inspected in Istanbul on Sunday and was nearing Ukraine on Monday morning, Refinitiv data also showed.