First merchant vessels navigating temporary corridor to Ukrainian port

16 September, 08:45 PM
A ship is transporting Ukrainian grain, Black Sea, November 2, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

A ship is transporting Ukrainian grain, Black Sea, November 2, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

The first merchant vessels to use a temporary corridor in the Black Sea to sail to the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk are now en route there, Ukraine’s Minister of Community Development, Territories, and Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov said on his Facebook page on Sept. 16.

After other vessels used the temporary corridor to exit the Ukrainian ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdennyi, which had been under a Russian naval blockade, the bulk carriers Resilient Africa and Aroyat confirmed their readiness to follow the designated route to Chornomorsk.

Kubrakov noted that in Chornomorsk, the vessels are to load nearly 20,000 tons of wheat destined for African and Asian countries. They are sailing under the flag of Palau, with crews consisting of citizens from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Egypt, and Ukraine.

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He added that the corridor had previously been used for the evacuation of vessels that were present in Ukrainian ports Chornomorsk, Odesa, and Pivdennyi when Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine occurred.

Furthermore, the minister added that since Aug. 15, five vessels have used the temporary corridor, including the container ship Joseph Schulte and the bulk carriers Primus, Anna-Theresa, Ocean Courtesy, and Puma.

Grain Deal Disruption — Details

The Kremlin on July 17 announced the suspension of the “grain deal” brokered through the United Nations and Turkey in July of the previous year, which had allowed the unblocking of three Ukrainian ports for food exports.

Additionally, Russia declared the withdrawal of security guarantees for shipping within the framework of the Black Sea grain initiative. Ukraine proposed to Turkey and the United Nations to continue the operation of the “grain corridor” without Russia’s involvement. In response, the Kremlin issued threats regarding the possibility of resuming the agreement without Russia.

Subsequently, Russia has intermittently attacked the south of Ukraine, including Odesa Oblast, targeting ports and destroying stocks of Ukrainian grain.

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin stated that Russia is willing to “consider the possibility” of returning to the “grain deal” if all its conditions are met. Turkey publicly mentioned that, together with the United Nations, they propose linking the subsidiary of Rosselkhozbank to SWIFT and unfreezing the assets of Russian companies in order to revive the grain initiative.

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