Nine vessels carrying 390,000 tons of agricultural products to Africa, Asia, and Europe left the ports of Greater Odesa in two days under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which established a humanitarian maritime corridor to allow ships to export grain and other foodstuffs from Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Ministry for Development of Communities, Territories, and Infrastructure announced this in a statement, the CFTS portal reports.
The vessels include the Alanda Star and SSI Privilege bulk carriers, which are transporting 68,000 tons of wheat to Egypt and Indonesia, as well as the Eurochampion tanker, which is transporting 45,000 tons of oil to India.
"The ports of Greater Odesa are loading over 860,000 tons of agricultural products onto 24 vessels. The next step is to wait for inspections by the Joint Coordination Center. Currently, 95 vessels are awaiting inspection in the Bosporus, including 73 heading west to be loaded in seaports and 22 already loaded with Ukrainian agricultural products," the statement said.
According to the statement, some vessels have been waiting in Turkish waters for over a month.
"This is the result of the deliberate actions of the Russian delegation at the Joint Coordination Center, which is aimed at slowing down the process of ship inspections. First, they reduced the number of inspection groups to three; now, they have begun prolonging the duration of the inspections themselves. Russian representatives have even begun checking indicators that are not stipulated in the Joint Coordination Center’s documents and are unrelated to the goals of the inspection (for example, they are checking whether ship engines are working well, how much fuel ships have, etc.). Under such a procedure, the inspection of one vessel takes at least four hours. This is unproductive and leads to a lengthening of the queue of vessels and the lengthening of the queue leads to a fall in the volume of exports of agricultural products from our ports and millions of dollars in losses for cargo owners because of downtime," said Deputy Minister of Community Development, Territories, and Infrastructure Yurii Vaskov.
Inspection team No. 3 had conducted no inspections as of 25 December because of this. As a result, only 6 of the 10 planned inspections took place per day. A minimum of 12 inspections per day is required for the steady operation of the humanitarian maritime corridor.
Three ships are currently passing through the humanitarian maritime corridor to Ukrainian seaports, where they will be loaded with 93,000 tons of agricultural products.
Since 1 August, 594 ships transporting 15.5 million tons of Ukrainian food to countries in Asia, Europe, and Africa have left the ports of Greater Odesa.