The first freighter loaded with Ukrainian grain since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression has received clearance to continue to Lebanon after an inspection in Istanbul. The Turkish Ministry of Defense announced on Wednesday that international inspectors had completed their inspection. The ship will soon pass through the Bosphorus Strait, which runs through Istanbul.
International inspectors had inspected the first freighter loaded with Ukrainian grain since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression. Experts from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations boarded the Razoni in Istanbul on Wednesday morning and began their work, the Turkish Defense Ministry said.
Inspectors should ensure that no unauthorized cargo is loaded. According to the broadcaster CNN Türk, the team consists of 20 people.
The experts were brought to the freighter in two boats, as TV images showed.
The ship loaded with around 26,000 tons of corn from Ukraine arrived on Tuesday evening at the Black Sea entrance to the Bosphorus Strait running through Istanbul and anchored there shortly after 9 p.m. local time.
The “Razoni” was the first ship to leave the Ukrainian port of Odessa on Monday as part of the grain agreement signed by Ukraine and Russia. First, it had to be guided safely through mined waters near the Ukrainian coast via a special sea corridor.
War opponents Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement with Turkey separately on July 22, through the mediation of the United Nations, in Istanbul to allow grain exports from Ukraine from three ports. This also marked the establishment of the coordination center in Istanbul, which is staffed by representatives of the four parties. Just a day later, however, the Russian military fired rockets at the port of Odessa.
According to the Turkish Defense Ministry, the inspectors of the center will be brought to the freighter by boat. Among other things, they should ensure that no weapons are loaded. The freighter, flying the flag of the West African state of Sierra Leone, is then to pass the Bosporus. It was initially unclear how long the inspection would take. The destination of the ship is the Lebanese port of Tripoli.
With the deliveries from the Ukraine, millions of tons of grain should once again be available for the world market. The food is urgently needed, especially in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The United Nations recently warned of the worst famine in decades.