The efforts to restart Black Sea shipping are accelerating with Turkish and UN officials confirming that they expect additional ships to depart ports in Ukraine on Friday, August 5, while the first inbound bulker has also been identified. Based on the success at handling the bulker Razoni earlier in the week, and lessons learned during the proof of concept, they are now saying they are prepared for a second multi-ship proof of concept as they prepare for a steady flow of vessels in and out of the Black Sea to Ukraine. They are reporting that a total of 58,041 tons of corn will depart Ukraine through the maritime humanitarian corridor under the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
Turkish Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar released a statement today, August 4, reporting that he had met separately with Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov and Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov to discuss grain shipments and the latest situation. Minister Akar stated that they continue to work with the authorities of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and the United Nations for the smooth functioning of the system.
“As a result of intensive work and coordination at the center, three ships are planned to start sailing from Ukrainian ports within the scope of grain shipment tomorrow,” announced Akar. Ukrainian officials reported yesterday that 17 vessels were loaded and preparing to depart from the three ports under the UN-brokered humanitarian corridor.
After reports that the Razoni had been cleared to proceed by the inspectors in Istanbul, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters, “We will steadfastly continue to fulfill this agreement. It is beneficial to Ukrainian farmers, it is beneficial to the Ukrainian economy, and it is beneficial to the world.”
Late today, the JCC identified the three vessels that it has approved to depart Ukraine saying, “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.”
The ships that have been authorized to depart for Turkey are the Polarnet, a Turkish owned bulker (12,200 dwt) which President Zelenskyy visited last Friday in Chornomorsk, which will depart with 12,000 metric tonnes of corn bound for Turkey. The Rojen, a 41,500 dwt bulker registered in Malta will also depart from Chornomorsk with a cargo of 13,041 MT corn destined to the UK, while the Navistar, a 38,243 dwt bulker registered in Panama, will depart from Odesa with a cargo of 33,000 MT of corn heading to Ireland.
The next test of the system will be moving vessels into Ukraine to continue the exports once the ships trapped in the ports since February are finally able to clear the ports. On Wednesday, Minister Akar confirmed media reports that an empty ship is expected to move to Ukraine after being inspected in Istanbul.
Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesman for the Ukrainian government in Odesa, initally identified the first inbound bulker as a Turkish-owned ship, the Osprey S. Registered in Liberia, the 30,500 dwt bulker is currently in the Tuzla anchorage south of Istanbul. A spokesperson for the Joint Coordination Center however reports that they would be boarding another vessel, the Fulmar S (14,415 dwt) registered in Barbados for an inspection on Friday before it proceeds to the port of Chornomorsk.
The bulker Razoni, laden with a cargo of corn from Ukraine, left the Turkish anchorage this morning. She is proceeding to Tripoli where Ukrainian officials said she is expected to start offloading early next week.