Sixteen cargo ships passed the river mouth of Bystre on July 12, and are waiting to be loaded with Ukrainian grain, while more than 90 vessels are waiting for their turn near the Romanian Sulina Canal, Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure press service has reported on Facebook.
According to the department, a total of 135 vessels are in the harbour of the Romanian Sulina Canal.
"Over the past four days, 16 ships have already passed through the mouth of Bystre [the Danube-Black Sea waterway]," the Infrastructure Ministry said.
“We plan to maintain this pace. The restoration of navigation through this canal is an important step, which will also makes it possible to free up the Sulina Canal harbour and speed up the export of grain.”
Unfortunately, at the moment, the river capacity and the organization of work on this channel make it possible to receive only four vessels, with a demand for at least eight vessels per day, the ministry added.
The Ministry is also negotiating with Romanian colleagues and representatives of the European Commission to increase the number of crossings through the Sulina Canal.
"...We expect that within a week the congestion of ships in the harbour will be eliminated and we will be able to increase the monthly export of grain by 500,000 tons," said Deputy Minister Yuriy Vaskov.
The passage along the Bystre river mouth to the Ukrainian Danube ports became possible thanks to the liberation of Zmiyinyi Island (Snake Island) from the Russian occupiers. Before that, cargo ships were forced to use only the Romanian part of the Sulina Canal.
Due to the blockade of the Ukrainina seaports by Russia, food is now exported exclusively through the Danube ports, as well as rail and road crossings on Ukraine’s western borders, but they cannot completely replace the seaports. According to the Ministry of Infrastructure, in June, about 2.5 million tons of products were exported through the existing routes, instead of the required 8 million tons.
A meeting will be held in Istanbul with the participation of experts from Ukraine, the UN, Turkey, and the Russian Federation on July 13, during which the parties will discuss the possibilities of opening sea corridors for the export of grain.
Ukrainian fighters cleared Snake Island and destroyed about 30 units of enemy equipment on July 7. To mark the triumph, the defenders installed and secured the flag of Ukraine, which was earlier delivered to the island.
The Operational Command “South” stated on June 30 that after powerful strikes by the Armed Forces, the Russian invasion forces hastily evacuated the remnants of the garrison on two speedboats and probably left Snake Island. Later, the information about the escape of their troops was confirmed by the Ministry of Defense of the aggressor country, which referred to the flight as a "gesture of goodwill."