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Second ship with Ukrainian grain leaves Odesa port despite Russian blockade

Ukraine sent its second grain shipment to Egypt, containing 17,600 tons of wheat, utilizing recently approved sea lanes that bypass Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports.
Bulker AROYAT. Photo: Oleksandr Kubrakov’s Facebook
Second ship with Ukrainian grain leaves Odesa port despite Russian blockade

The vessel Aroyat left Chornomorsk-Kubrakov port in Odesa Oblast with 17,600 tons of Ukrainian wheat for Egypt, Minister of Community, Territorial and Infrastructure Development Oleksandr Kubrakov said.

This is the second bulk carrier to enter and leave the port using the temporary corridor.

“The vessel AROYAT (flag Palau) left the port Chornomorsk after loading 17,6K Ukrainian wheat for Egypt. The crew of AROYAT is citizens of Egypt, Türkiye, Azerbaijan, Belgium and Albania,” Minister Kubrakov wrote on his social media.

On 16 September, two cargo vessels, Resilient Africa and Aroyat, arrived in Ukraine, the first ships to use a temporary corridor to sail into Black Sea ports and load grain for African and Asian markets. They were to load 20,000 tonnes of wheat bound for Egypt and Israel.

On 8 August, Ukrainian officials announced the establishment of temporary corridors for merchant ships in the Black Sea amid the ongoing Russian sea blockade.

According to the spokesman for the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Ukraine, the decision to open these sea lanes was approved after Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allowed for the passage of grain ships to Ukrainian ports after Russo-Ukrainian-Turkish inspections.

Earlier, Ukraine proposed these routes in an appeal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and the organization’s Council recognized Ukraine’s right to free commercial navigation, guaranteed by international maritime law. The IMO called on Russia to comply with international conventions and stop threats to merchant shipping in the Black Sea.

Russia’s withdrawal from the grain deal

  • On 17 July 2023, the Russian Federation withdrew from the Black Sea grain initiative, an UN-brokered agreement to unblock Ukraine’s ports and export its grain, and stated that it would not guarantee that it will not attack civilian vessels after that date. The Ukrainian defense ministry mirrored Russia’s threats to ships at sea.
  • After that, Russia launched massive missile attacks on Odesa and the region with missiles and drones, destroying ports, granaries, residential buildings, and other facilities.
  • NATO has condemned the Russian attacks but has thus far only vowed to increase surveillance. Meanwhile, Ukraine has changed the course of its grain corridor so that it stays within Romanian waters. Reportedly, the US declined Ukrainian requests to escort commercial vessels in the waters of NATO countries to ensure that the grain corridor keeps functioning.
  • The Institute for Study of War has observed that Russia seems intent on enforcing a de-facto naval blockade of the Black Sea by intimidating civilian vessels in it. Particularly, a Russian warship told a ship that sailing to Ukraine could get it treated as a military target, according to an intercept shared by Ukrainian officials on 28 July.

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