Three new ships with grain leave Ukraine under landmark deal

FILE PHOTO: A general view shows a sea port in Chornomorsk before the restarting of grain export, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Chornomorsk, Ukraine July 29, 2022. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

KYIV/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Three ships loaded with grain under a recently concluded deal have left Ukrainian ports, the Turkish defenсe ministry and Reuters witnesses said on Friday.

The Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul, which groups Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and U.N. personnel, said two ships were setting off from Chornomorsk and one from Odesa.

The three vessels carrying a total of about 58,000 tonnes of corn have been authorised to leave Ukrainian ports as part of a deal to unblock grain exports.

The Turkish Defence Ministry said on Twitter the Panama-flagged Navistar, carrying 33,000 tonnes of corn and going from Ukraine to Ireland, departed from Odesa Port. The ship will be inspected by the Joint Coordination Centre to the north of Istanbul.

The second ship, the Maltese-flagged Rojen, carrying 13,000 tonnes of corn departed from Chornomorsk port bound for Britain. The Joint Inspection Team was monitoring it.

The Turkish-flagged ship Polarnet set off from Chornomorsk for the Turkish Black Sea port of Karasu. Before the ship carrying 12,000 tonnes of corn reaches Karasu, it will be inspected by the Joint Inspection Team to the north of Istanbul.

The Razoni, the first ship loaded with Ukrainian grain to set off from a Ukrainian port since the beginning of the Russian invasion, departed this week.

Ukraine is a major grain exporter but its shipments have slumped since the beginning of the war because its Black Sea ports - a key route for its shipments - have been largely closed, driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk in Kyiv and Daren Butler in Istanbul; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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