First ship carrying maize from Ukraine reaches final destination

by IANS |

Ankara, Aug 8 (IANS) A freighter carrying maize from Ukraine on Monday reached Turkey, becoming the first vessel to reach its final destination since a deal was made to release stores of food that have been stuck in Black Sea ports since Russia began its invasion of Kiev in February.

The Turkish-flagged Polarnet reached Kocaeli, on the Sea of Marmara, dpa news agency quoted state news outlet Anadolu as saying in a report.

So far, 10 grain ships have departed from Ukrainian ports, according to the Turkish Defence Ministry, with the Razoni the first to set off for Lebanon on August 1.

However, its arrival has been delayed.

The shipments are taking place following a deal reached in July to release millions of tonnes of grain blockaded in the ports of Ukraine, a critical food producer known as the breadbasket of Europe.

The shipments are seen as essential for stabilizing grain prices on global markets amid fears of famine in the Middle East and Africa.

Under the agreement, Ukraine pledged to guide the ships through waters that have been mined and Russia promised to not target the ships and certain port infrastructure.

The deal's brokers, the UN and Turkey, are helping safely coordinate the exports and monitoring the shipments to make sure the vessels are not smuggling weapons into the war zone.

More than 20 million tonnes of grain from last year's harvest is still awaiting export, Ukrainian authorities had said earlier.

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