First Grain Ship Departs Odesa Bound for Lebanon Under UN Deal

The first grain ship since the beginning of the Russian aggression on Ukraine left Monday morning the Ukrainian port of Odesa bound for Lebanon under an UN-brokered safe passage deal to help ease the global hunger, Ukrainian and Turkish officials confirmed.

Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov confirmed on Twitter that the first grain ship has left Odesa in line with the deal signed in Istanbul on July 22 that envisages other ships to also be dispatched, but did not provide further details.

Under the agreement aimed at helping to ease the global food crisis sparked by Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports, a total of 5 MMT of grain is expected to leave Ukraine each month through a safe corridor in the Black Sea and pass through the Bosporus Strait to reach global markets.

The Turkish defense ministry informed in a statement that the Sierra Leone-flagged ship Razoni, carrying more than 26,000 metric tons of maize, can also be seen moving on the satellite vessel tracker MarineTraffic.

The ministry said that other convoys would follow, respecting the maritime corridor and the agreed formalities in line with the agreement.

The civilian and military staff – from the two warring parties and delegates from Turkey and the UN – of the special joint coordination center that Turkey formally opened last Wednesday in Istanbul will oversee the exports, monitoring the safe passage of Ukrainian grain ships and overseeing their inspection for banned weapons on the way into and out of the Black Sea.

Although the EU and NATO welcomed Monday’s grain shipment as a first step towards easing the global food crisis the Russian invasion caused, Brussels still expects the implementation of the whole deal and the resumption of Ukrainian exports, urging Russia to respect what was agreed.

The EU officials also accused Moscow of destroying the fields and silos in Ukraine, burning the grain, or looting and trying to sell it on behalf of Russia.