The Sierra Leone-flagged Razoni cargo ship, which days ago became the first grain ship to leave a Ukrainian port since the war began in February, and laden with 26,000 tonnes of corn, is now safely anchored off the Turkish coast.
This means the July 22 UN-brokered deal signed by Russian and Ukraine to open up food export shipments from Ukraine has held, with Turkey announcing Tuesday that more ships will be close behind.
First Ukrainian grain shipment reaches the shores of Istanbul. Razoni is carrying corn pic.twitter.com/cFrn35OjqD— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) August 2, 2022
The Razoni has made it to anchor at the Bosphorus entrance from the Black Sea 36 hours after it left the port of Odessa, Reuters reports. Now plans are to slowly increase the number of grain-laden ships that leave through the brokered safety corridor.
"The plan is for a ship to leave…every day," a senior Turkish official told Reuters, describing operations at three Ukrainian ports covered under the UN deal. "If nothing goes wrong, exports will be made via one ship a day for a while."
The next step for the Razoni, according to the mechanisms in place, is for monitors to inspect the ship, making sure there's nothing aboard that violates the terms of the agreement.
"According to Turkey’s Defense Ministry, a group from the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul, where Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish, and United Nations troops work, is scheduled to assess the ship at 0700 GMT on Wednesday," Reuters details.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres previously hailed the UN-Ukraine-Russia-Turkey deal as a "beacon of hope" after previously estimating that some 50 million people are facing "acute hunger" due to one of the biggest single global exporters of wheat being invaded. "Ensuring that existing grain and foodstuffs can move to global markets is a humanitarian imperative," Guterres said more recently.
The Turkish government is now hailing that the safety corridor and mechanisms are a proven success. Turkish media is further praising the country for a huge diplomatic achievement. "Internationally praised for its mediator role, Turkey has coordinated with Moscow and Kyiv to open a corridor from the Ukrainian port city of Odessa to resume global grain shipments that are stuck due to the Russia-Ukraine war, now in its fifth month," Daily Sabah writes.