The Razoni, with a cargo of 26,527 tons of corn, is the first cargo ship to leave a Ukrainian port on the Black Sea since February 26, just a few days after the Russian invasion began. It is on its way to the Mediterranean port of Tripoli, in Lebanon.
In a statement from his spokesman, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres said that ensuring that “existing grain and food can go to global markets is a humanitarian imperative”.”
The first commercial ship to leave the port of Odessa since February has sailed to Lebanon with 26,527 tons of corn.
— Antonio Guterres (@antonioguterres) August 1, 2022
The deal, called a “beacon of hope” by Mr Guterres when it was signed in the Turkish city of Istanbul on July 22, is a “collective achievement” of the newly established Joint Coordination Center, or JCC, founded in Istanbul, under under the auspices of the UN, by representatives of the three governments that signed the deal, officially known as the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
In a statement, the JCC said it had agreed on the specific coordinates and restrictions for what it will use the . called Safe Humanitarian Maritime Corridor, “and has communicated these details in accordance with international navigation procedures.”
“The JCC has requested all its participants to inform their respective military and other relevant authorities of this decision in order to ensure the safe passage of the ship.”
The plan also paves the way for Russian food and fertilizers to reach global markets, all of which it is hoped will help reduce rising food prices worldwide and avoid the possibility of famine affecting millions of people in the coming months.
Since the signing of the agreement, the parties concerned “worked tirelessly” to start shipping grain and grains from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.
‘The first of many’
The Secretary General commends their efforts and is grateful to Türkiye for his leadership,” the statement said, just after the ship left port.
“The Secretary General hopes this will be the first of many commercial vessels to sail in accordance with the Initiative signed, and that this will bring much-needed stability and aid for global food security especially in the most vulnerable humanitarian contexts.”
The statement added that the UN emergency food agency, WFP, which is a major buyer of Ukrainian grains and grains, planned to conduct a first 30,000 tons of wheat from Ukraine, on a UN chartered ship.
Hope for a lasting peace
While addressing correspondents at UN headquarters in New York about the shipment, Mr Guterres said the ship was loaded with two scarce commodities, “corn and hope.”
And so it begins! The first commercial ship since February departed from Odessa #Ukraine this morning with 26,000 tons of maize 🌽 as part of the #BlackSeaGrainInitiative. Teams from 🇺🇦, 🇷🇺, 🇹🇷, 🇺🇳 of the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul guard the safe passage. pic.twitter.com/vdqbyrvgnz
— UN Humanitarian (@UNOCHA) August 1, 2022
“People on the brink of famine need these agreements to work, to survive. Countries on the brink of bankruptcy need these agreements to work, to keep their economies alive.”
As the “tragic war continues,” the UN chief said, the UN would continue to work every day, “to provide aid to the people of Ukraine and those suffering the effects of the conflict around the world.”
He said the war “must end, and peace be established, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law”.
“I hope today’s news can be a step towards that goal, for the people of Ukraine and the Russian Federation, and for the world.”
WFP charter ship
Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said more details of the World Food Program will be released in the coming days.
According to news reports, Turkish authorities have made it clear that more grain shipments are planned in the coming weeks and that many more journeys need to be made safely and successfully for much-needed food supplies to make a difference.
Ukraine and Russia account for nearly a third of global wheat imports, with the two countries supplying more than 45 million tons annually, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The grain initiative is generating significant export volumes from Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny. Inspection teams will oversee grain loading at the ports, with Ukrainian pilot vessels guiding the ships through the Black Sea, before passing through the Bosphorus, Istanbul, along an agreed-upon corridor.