The Joint Coordination Center (JCC) which is managing the Black Sea Grain Initiative, agreed between the UN, Ukraine, Russia and Türkiye, has authorized the departure of three vessels – two from the port of Chornomorsk and one from Odesa, carrying a total of 58,041 tones of corn through the designated “maritime humanitarian corridor”.
The grain deal facilitated by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres following the Russian invasion, amidst concerns over the blockade of Ukraine’s valuable food exports via the Black Sea, was signed between the parties on 22 July, in Istanbul.
The JCC announced five days later, was established in order to carry out the Initiative, and the first commercial shipment took place just on Wednesday, when the Razoni was cleared to leavebound for the Lebanese port of Tripoli.
Its roll this to enable the safe transportation by merchant ships of grain and other foodstuffs and fertilizers from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea, to the rest of the world.
Corn heading to Turkiye, UK, Ireland
The Istanbul-based JCC, which is made up of representatives from the nations involved in the deal plus the UN, said in a press release that the merchant ship Polarnet, anchored in Chornomorsk port, would leave carrying a charge of 12,000 metric tones of corn destined for Karasu in Turkiye.
The Rojen, also anchored in Chornomorsk, is due to leave on Friday with a charge of 13,041 shades corn destined for Teesport, in the north of Englandwhile the Navistar, anchored in Odesa, will set off with 33,000 tons of corn, bound for Ringaskiddy, Ireland.
First ship bound for Ukraine
The JCC said it had also authorized the movement, pending inspection, of the merchant vessel Fulmar S, inbound to Chornomorsk. Fulmar S is currently at anchor at the inspection area near northwest of Istanbul.
“The three outbound vessels are estimated to depart in the morning from their respective ports”, said the JCC. “Timings may be affected based on readiness, weather conditions or other unexpected circumstances. Inspection is expected to take place after arrival at the anchorage area in Turkish territorial waters.”
The JCC said that “drawing from lessons learned during the first movement of M/V Razoni, the JCC has authorized this movement as a second ‘proof of concept’, testing multi-ship operations in the corridor including an inbound ship. In addition, the corridor has been revised to allow for more efficient passage of ships while maintaining safety.”
Freeing up the ports
The JCC have acknowledged the need for commercial vessels which have been stranded in ports since February, to be allowed to depart to their “pre-defined Ukrainian destinations.”
“Their movement will free up valuable pier space for more inbound ships to come in and carry food to global markets in line with the Initiative.”As per pre-agreed procedures, all participants coordinate with their respective military authorities, in Moscow, Kyiv and Ankara, and other relevant authorities to ensure the safe passage of commercial vessels, the JCC emphasized.
“The JCC will closely monitor the safe passage of the vessels through the humanitarian maritime corridor.”