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Turkey expects daily departures from Ukraine after first grain ship sails

the sierra leone flagged cargo ship, razoni carrying ukrainian grain leaves the port, in odesa
The Razoni carrying Ukrainian grain leaves the port, in Odesa, Ukraine, August 1, 2022, Oleksandr Kubrakov/ Ukraine Ministry of Infrastructure/Handout via REUTERS

 Turkey expects roughly one grain ship to leave Ukrainian ports each day as long as an agreement that ensures safe passage holds, a senior Turkish official said on Tuesday after the first wartime vessel safely departed Odesa on Monday.

The first ship, Razoni, carrying 26,527 tonnes of corn to Lebanon, was crossing the western Black Sea off Romania’s Danube Delta at 0714 GMT, nearly halfway to Turkish waters, where it will be inspected on Wednesday, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

The sailing was made possible after Turkey and the United Nations brokered a grain and fertiliser export agreement between Russia and Ukraine last month – a rare diplomatic breakthrough in a conflict that has become a drawn-out war of attrition.

The exports from one of the world’s top producers are intended to help ease a global food crisis.

“The plan is for a ship to leave…every day,” the senior Turkish official told Reuters, referring to Odesa and two other Ukrainian ports covered by the deal. “If nothing goes wrong, exports will be made via one ship a day for a while.”

The official, who asked to remain anonymous, added Razoni’s departure was delayed by a couple of days by “technical problems” that are now fixed, and NATO member Turkey expected the safe-passage corridor to function well.

The Razoni should arrive off Turkey’s coast in the early hours of Wednesday and be inspected later that morning by Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian and U.N. officials, Turkey’s defence ministry said.

The four parties are monitoring shipments and conducting inspections from a Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul, which straddles the Bosphorus Strait that connects the Black Sea to world markets.

The JCC is set to update reporters on the shipments at 0800 GMT.

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