The first ship carrying grain has left a Ukrainian port under a landmark deal with Russia.
Turkish and Ukrainian officials say the ship left the southern port of Odesa early on August 1 2022.
Russia has been preventing shipments from Ukrainian ports since February, but an agreement has finally come to fruition; shipments will be resumed.
In theory, the deal will ease the global food crisis and lower the price of grain.
The restriction of grain export has caused a global food crisis, with wheat-based products like bread and pasta becoming more expensive; alongside this cooking oils and fertiliser also increased in price.
A statement issued ahead of the ship’s departure announced that a Sierra Leone-flagged vessel would dock in Lebanon, where further shipments were expected over the coming weeks.
The Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul, set up under the deal, said the ship was carrying some 26,000 tonnes of corn and was expected to arrive in Turkish waters for inspection on August 2 2022.
Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Alexander Kubrakov said, “Today, Ukraine, together with partners, takes another step to prevent world hunger.
“Unlocking ports will provide at least $1 billion in foreign exchange revenue to the economy and an opportunity for the agricultural sector to plan for next year.”
Mr Kubrakov added that 16 other ships were waiting to depart in the ports of Odesa region in the coming weeks.
Last month’s deal–brokered by the UN and Turkey–took two months to reach and is set to last for 120 days. If both Ukrainian and Russian parties remain in accordance, the deal will be renewed.
Under the terms of the agreement, shipments will be left alone whilst transiting, and Ukraine’s naval vessels will guide cargo ships through waters that have been mined.
Turkey–supported by the United Nations–will inspect ships, to ensure adherence to the deal.
Three ports in southern Ukraine–Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdenny–are expected to be the focal point of the exports.