March 23, 2023

Four food-laden ships set sail from Ukraine’s Black Sea port on Sunday as part of a deal to lift the country’s maritime export blockade, Ukrainian and Turkish officials said.

The four bulk carriers carried more than 160,000 tonnes of corn and other food items.

Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN personnel are overseeing the resumption of food exports at a Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul.

The U.N. and Turkey brokered the deal after the U.N. warned of a possible famine in parts of the world, as food shipments to Ukraine stopped, squeezing supplies and sending prices soaring.

Before the invasion, Russia and Ukraine together accounted for nearly a third of global wheat exports.

The JCC said late Saturday that it had approved a total of five new ships to leave via the Black Sea corridor: four ships carrying 161,084 metric tons of agricultural products out of Chernomorsk and Odessa, and one inbound.

The Turkish Defense Ministry said ships leaving Ukrainian ports included the Glory with 66,000 tons of corn and the Riva Wind, bound for Iskenderun, Turkey, with 44,000 tons of corn.

The other two ships that left Ukraine were Star Helena, carrying 45,000 tons of soybean meal bound for China, and Mustafa Necati, carrying 6,000 tons of sunflower oil, bound for Italy, it said.

Under the deal, the first four ships left Ukraine last week.

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