Sun, 24 Sep 2023

Kyiv [Ukraine], September 16 (ANI): For the first time after the suspension of the Black Sea grain initiative, two merchant ships approached Ukrainian ports to collect about 20,000 tons of wheat for Africa and Asia on Saturday morning, CNN reported citing Kyiv officials.

Ukraine's Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said the ships, Resilient Africa and Aroyat, were headed to Chornomorsk, one of three main ports near the city of Odesa.

Notably, this would be the first such use of key Black Sea shipping corridors since Russia withdrew from an agreement designed to guarantee safe passage for cargo ships carrying grain.

CNN reported citing data from the MarineTraffic website, which tracks shipping movements around the world, showed the two ships each about 10 miles off Ukraine's southwest coast at 2 pm (local time).

Even though merchant shipping companies have started to use the temporary corridors, Ukraine's navy has warned "the military threat and mine danger from the Russian Federation remains along all routes."Meanwhile, Ukraine announced last month that it was setting up "temporary corridors" for civilian shipping after Russia pulled out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

Five ships have already used the corridor sailing south from Ukraine's ports, according to the infrastructure minister, but this is the first such passage in the other direction, CNN reported.

This came after Russia in July, pulled out of the initiative and said that Moscow won't renew the agreement.

Notably, Russia and Ukraine are important global providers of wheat, barley, sunflower oil, and other agricultural products that are essential to developing countries, Al Jazeera reported.

The agreement brokered by Turkey and the United Nations which provided security guarantees for ships taking Ukrainian grain to world markets.

Under the initiative, vessels sailed to and from Ukraine while ship and cargo inspections were managed from Turkey. While the deal was in force, around 33,000 tonnes of grain left Ukraine, according to Al Jazeera. (ANI)

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