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First Ukraine grain ship enters Bosphorus after inspection

Reference: Reuters

ISTANBUL, Aug 3 (Reuters) - The first grain ship to leave a Ukrainian port in wartime passed inspection and was heading through the Bosphorus on Wednesday for a delivery that foreign powers hope will be the first of many to help ease a global food crisis.

The Razoni left Odesa on the Black Sea early on Monday carrying 26,527 tonnes of corn to Lebanon and anchored at the entrance of the Bosphorus Strait on Tuesday night.

The shipment was made possible after Turkey and the United Nations brokered a grain and fertiliser export agreement between Moscow and Kyiv last month - a rare diplomatic breakthrough in a drawn-out war of attrition.

The ship entered the Bosphorus Strait around 1130 GMT, following the completion of the inspection by Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and U.N. personnel working at a Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in nearby Istanbul.

Ukraine said it had 17 more vessels loaded with agricultural products awaiting approval to set sail.

Ukraine's ambassador to Lebanon, Ihor Ostash, said the Razoni was expected to arrive in Tripoli port in four to five days.

THREE SHIPS A DAY

Inspection personnel boarded the Razoni after two boats ferried them from a small fishing port at Istanbul's Rumeli Feneri to the ship, which was circled by two coast guard boats while a helicopter flew over.

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The JCC said the clearing of the ship after a three-hour inspection concluded the initial "proof of concept" operation.

The inspection team gained valuable information from the crew about the Razoni's journey, which will be used to finetune procedures to continue the safe passage of commercial vessels under the deal, it added.

The U.N.-brokered deal relaunched the export of grains from one of the world's top producers after they were stalled for more than five months after Russia's Feb. 24 invasion. The agreement aims to help ease shortages and rising prices... Read More