August 12, 2022

Three ships loaded with grain were given permission to leave Ukrainian ports on Friday, days after the first ship loaded with grain left the country since the Russian invasion under a hard-earned deal to free more than 20 million tons of much-needed Ukrainian storage.

Officials from the center said in a statement on Thursday that a joint coordination center in Istanbul, set up under the agreement and staffed by officials from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, had allowed the ships to leave. The statement said that two, Polarent and Rogen, will depart from the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk, and the third, Navi Star, from Odessa. They carry a total of 58,041 metric tons of corn bound for ports in Turkey, Ireland and Britain.

The statement said the ships were expected to leave Friday morning, weather permitting. Under the agreement, their first stop is in Turkish waters, to conduct a joint inspection.

Many potential dangers lie ahead, but the safe passage of the Razzoni River so far offers hope that the long-negotiated deal will achieve its goal of helping to address—albeit not solving by itself—global food shortages and soaring grain prices.

Officials from the joint center said Thursday that a fourth ship, the Fulmar S, is now moored near Istanbul, and is awaiting inspection procedures to allow it to travel to the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk.

Their statement said the incoming Volmar S would serve as a second “proof of concept” for the grain deal, and noted that the permitted travel lane had been “reviewed to allow for more efficient passage of vessels while maintaining safety.”

Shafak Timur Contribute to the preparation of reports.

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