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Vessel blocked in Odesa port for more than year, leaves through new temporary corridor

18 September, 2023 Monday
17:06

On the morning of September 18, the bulk carrier PUMA (Cayman Islands) left the port of Odesa and is now heading to the Bosphorus via a new temporary corridor with metal and rapeseed on board.

This was announced by Oleksandr Kubrakov, Minister of Communities, Territories and Infrastructure of Ukraine.

The vessel is loaded with 16 thousand tons of metal and 14 thousand tons of rapeseed.

"The bulk carrier entered the Odesa seaport on February 19, 2022, and could not leave the port due to the outbreak of hostilities and the closure of the relevant areas of the Black Sea," Kubrakov said.

He noted that the corridor defined by the navigational order of the Ukrainian Navy is primarily used to evacuate ships that were in the Ukrainian ports of Chornomorsk, Odesa and Pivdennyi at the time of the full-scale Russian invasion.

At the same time, according to the minister, Ukraine is considering the possibility of using this corridor for civilian ships carrying non-military cargo, including grain.

Since August 15, 4 ships have already used the temporary corridor.

Russia's termination of the grain deal

On 17 July, Russia announced the termination of the grain deal. In response, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that it was necessary to continue using the grain corridor despite Russia's withdrawal from the agreement

On August 4, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov said that Ukraine would send ships with its own grain to wherever it deems necessary and would not ask anyone for permission.

On August 12, Ukraine opened registration of merchant ships and their owners who are ready to use temporary routes to Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea.

On August 16, the first vessel left the port of Odesa after Russia announced that it would terminate the grain deal on July 16, 2023.

On August 25, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan. The politicians discussed, among other things, the grain deal. Fidan stated that Ankara sees "no alternative" to the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the original grain deal that Ukraine and Russia concluded with the mediation of the UN and Turkey.

On September 16, Kubrakov said that after Russia withdrew from the grain deal, Russian occupiers shelled Ukraine's ports 118 times. About a third of the infrastructure was damaged or destroyed.

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