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1st grain-laden ship from Ukraine to anchor off Istanbul for inspection: Turkish ministry

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-08-02 09:31
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The Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship, Razoni carrying Ukrainian grain leaves the port, in Odesa, Ukraine, Aug 1, 2022, in this screen grab taken from a handout video. [Photo/Agencies]

ISTANBUL - The first cargo ship carrying grain from Ukraine would anchor off Istanbul in the early hours of Wednesday Aug 3 for a joint inspection as part of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the Turkish Defense Ministry announced Monday.

The ministry said in a written message that the vessel will not enter any port and the inspections will be carried out at the anchorage point on the sea.

A team of the Joint Coordination Center composed of representatives from Russia, Ukraine, the United Nations and Türkiye will board the ship for inspection at 8 am local time (0500 GMT) on Wednesday.

The Coast Guard Command will take necessary measures to ensure that no other boat will approach the vessel, according to the ministry.

"If there is no problem, afterward, hopefully, the vessel will continue on its journey," Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a televised speech.

The Sierra Leone-flagged dry cargo ship Razoni left Ukraine's Odesa port on Monday morning for Tripoli in Lebanon. Carrying 26,527 tonnes of corn, Razoni will pass through the Bosphorus Strait and sail to the Mediterranean.

Akar noted that the passage of other cargo ships with the same methodology through the "determined corridor" is also planned as part of the agreement signed in Istanbul.

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Twitter that the agreement will lead to a cease-fire and lasting peace and Türkiye will do what is necessary to this end.

Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov also announce on his social media accounts that the vessel Razoni would move along a corridor whose safety has been confirmed by Ukraine's guarantor partners, "the UN and Türkiye".

Kubrakov said Ukraine is the world's fourth largest exporter of corn, and the opportunity of exporting its products is a "colossal success" for ensuring global food security.

According to the minister, 16 more ships are waiting for their turn at Odesa port.

"In the coming weeks, with the support of our partners, we plan to reach the full capacity for the shipment of agricultural products," he noted.

Last week, the Joint Coordination Center was inaugurated in Istanbul. It has a total of 20 representatives from Ukraine, Russia, the United nations and Türkiye to monitor the implementation of the grain shipment process.

The center will track the journey of the ships from Ukraine to guarantee their safe passages on the Black Sea, and conduct controls both at Ukrainian ports and in Türkiye.

On July 22, Russia and Ukraine signed a deal with Türkiye and the United Nations to allow food and fertilizer exports from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea, Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi.

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