First shipment of Ukrainian grain leaves Odessa

The first shipment of Ukrainian grain left the port of Odessa on Monday as part of a deal to ease a global food crisis following Russia’s invasion of its neighbor, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said.

“The Razoni vessel left the port of Odessa bound for Tripoli in Lebanon. It is expected in Istanbul on August 2. It will then continue its journey after being inspected in Istanbul,” the ministry said.

The ship was carrying 26,000 tons of corn, according to Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov.

It was expected to reach the mouth of the Bosphorus around noon on Tuesday, according to Yoruk Isik, an expert on ship movements in the Bosphorus Strait and the region.

Other convoys will follow, respecting the maritime corridor and the formalities agreed in accordance with the agreement reached with Russia on July 22, the ministry said.

Built in 1996 and measuring 186 meters (610 feet) in length and 25 meters in width, the vessel has a capacity of 30,000 tons.

On July 22, Ukraine and Russia signed a historic agreement with Turkey and the United Nations aimed at alleviating a global food crisis caused by the blockage of grain deliveries from the Black Sea.

Turkey officially opened a special joint coordination center to oversee exports in Istanbul last Wednesday, which is staffed by civilian and military officials from the two warring parties and delegates from Turkey and the UN.

Their main task is to monitor the safe passage of Ukrainian grain vessels along established routes and oversee their inspection of prohibited weapons entering and leaving the Black Sea.

The blockage of deliveries from two of the world’s largest grain exporters has contributed to a price spike that has made food imports prohibitive for some of the world’s poorest countries.

According to UN estimates, nearly 50 million people have begun to face “acute hunger” around the world as a direct result of the war.

Wheat prices fell sharply hours after the grain deal was signed.

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