Three more grain carriers allowed to leave Ukraine

Three grain ships were allowed to leave Ukrainian ports on Friday, days after the first grain ship left the country since the Russian invasion in a hard-won deal to free more than 20 million tons of Ukraine’s badly needed supplies.

A joint coordination center in Istanbul, set up under the agreement and staffed by officials from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, has allowed ships to depart, the center said in a statement Thursday. Two, Polarnet and Rojen, will depart from the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk, and the third, Navi-Star, from Odessa, the report said. They carry a total of 58,041 metric tons of corn to ports in Turkey, Ireland and the UK.

The ships are expected to depart Friday morning, weather permitting, the statement said. By agreement, their first stop is in Turkish waters for a joint inspection.

There are many potential dangers ahead, but so far, Rasoni’s safe passage has raised hope that the long-negotiated deal will do its job in helping to solve—though not by itself—global food shortages and high grain prices.

A fourth vessel, the Fulmar S, which is currently anchored off Istanbul, is awaiting screening for shipment to Ukraine’s port of Chornomorsk, officials at the joint center said on Thursday.

Their statement says the incoming Fulmar S will serve as a “second ‘proof of concept'” for the grain deal, noting that the permitted traffic corridor has been “revised to allow for more efficient passage of ships while maintaining safety.”

Safak Timur made a report.