Inspection done, first grain ship bound for Lebanon

Inspection done, first grain ship bound for Lebanon

Inspection done, first grain ship bound for Lebanon

The first grain ship carrying Ukrainian corn since the Kremlin’s invasion passed inspection in Istanbul and continued to Lebanon on Aug. 3, the Turkish Defense Ministry has said.

The team of 20 inspectors, which included Russian, Ukrainian, the U.N. and Turkish officials, has “completed its inspection work aboard Razoni,” allowing the Sierra Leone-flagged vessel to sail on to its final destination in Lebanon, the Defense Ministry said.

The vessel, carrying 27,000 tonnes of corn, will soon pass the Bosphorus to reach Lebanon, said the ministry.

Razoni set sail on Aug. 1 from Odesa in Ukraine and anchored late on Aug. 2 near the mouth of the Bosporus Strait that connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea, which further connects to the Aegean Sea via the Dardanelles.

Inspectors, some wearing white helmets, headed out to the ship under the rain in two boats, escorted by the Turkish Coast Guard. The checks aim to ensure that incoming vessels are not carrying weapons and that outgoing ones are bearing only grain, fertilizer, or related food items and not other commodities.

The Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul is responsible for monitoring the entire operation, including controlling the cargo of the ships to and from the Ukrainian ports. The deal signed between the parties on July 22 stipulates secure passage of the ships from the designated corridor. Türkiye and the U.N. are the guarantors of the operation. The deal aims to allow safe passage for grain shipments in and out of Chornomorsk, Odesa and the port of Pivdennyi.

More ships from Ukraine are expected to set out in the coming days, raising hope that world food shortages can be alleviated. Some 27 vessels have been waiting in three Ukrainian ports with cargo and signed contracts, ready to go, according to U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

An estimated 20 million tons of grain have been stuck in Ukraine since the start of the war. The U.N.-brokered agreement last month to release the grain calls for the establishment of safe corridors through the mined waters outside Ukraine’s ports.

The holdup of shipments because of the war has worsened rising food prices worldwide and threatened hunger and political instability in developing nations.