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 steady flow of vessels in and out of the Black Sea to Ukraine.
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 without identifying which vessels or from which ports they would depart. 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.”
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, 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 confirmed that they would be boarding the vessel for an inspection on Friday before it proceeds to the port of Chornomorsk. The Ukrainians had said the vessel would arrive on Friday after departing the Turkish port of Iskenderun on the last day of July.
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.