Removing sea mines near Ukraine’s key ports could take months, the International Maritime Organization’s special advisor on maritime security Peter Adams has said.

The CFTS portal reported this, citing the Bloomberg publication.

"Even if the ports wanted to reopen tomorrow it would take some time until ships could enter or depart. Completely removing sea mines in the port areas would take several months," he said.

According to Bloomberg, Russian ships have blocked Ukraine’s Black Sea access, essentially halting seaborne exports of staples from grains to chicken and worsening a global food crisis.

Freight and insurance costs spiked after several merchant ships were hit in the early days of Russia’s invasion, and some shipping companies are still avoiding the Black Sea. Three mines were detected free-floating in March, two off the coast of Turkey and one near Romania. 

Commercial ships have stopped operating in the northwest of the Black Sea near Ukraine, according to Adams.

Some 450 foreign seafarers remain stranded on over 80 ships in Ukrainian ports, down from about 2,000, he said. According to him, one-third is from the Philippines, with substantial numbers also from Turkey, Syria, and Azerbaijan.

However, according to him, most of the Black Sea is back to near normal shipping levels, aside from the northwest and the Sea of Azov, where Russian ships are mainly operating.