Two cargo vessels embarked on a significant journey towards Ukrainian ports, marking the inaugural use of a temporary maritime corridor leading to Black Sea ports. Their mission: to load valuable grain destined for markets in Africa and Asia. A senior Ukrainian government official shared this development with Reuters.
This new route comes to fruition after Ukraine declared the establishment of a “humanitarian corridor” within the Black Sea. This corridor serves the purpose of releasing vessels that had been trapped in Ukrainian ports since the outbreak of the conflict in February 2022. Additionally, it aims to bypass the de facto blockade situation that ensued after Russia reneged on an agreement allowing Kyiv to export its grain.
As of now, five vessels have successfully departed from the port of Odesa, utilizing the newly established corridor, which closely traces the western coast of the Black Sea, adjacent to Romania and Bulgaria.
Ukraine, renowned as a prominent global food producer and exporter, is eager to harness this corridor not only for grain but also for the export of various food products.
Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov revealed that two bulk carriers, namely “Resilient Africa” and “Aroyat,” are currently en route within the Black Sea, en route to Ukrainian ports. Their mission is to load nearly 20,000 tons of wheat destined for Africa and Asia. Shipping data confirms the progress of both vessels in the northern waters of the Black Sea.
These grain loadings signify a critical test of Ukraine’s capacity to reopen vital sea lanes, particularly in the face of Russia’s attempts to reestablish its de facto blockade. Moscow’s decision to abandon the grain deal in July has been accompanied by frequent drone and missile attacks on Ukraine’s grain export infrastructure.
In recent days, tensions have escalated as Ukraine conducted several attacks utilizing sea drones and missiles, targeting Russia’s Black Sea naval fleet in and around the Crimean peninsula—a region annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014.
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