Vessels call at three Ukraine’s ports, defying Russia’s threats
All three of Ukraine's Black Sea ports, Odesa, Pivdenny and Chornomorsk, have resumed accepting grain export ships despite Russia's threats
Bloomberg reports that the first 10 ships have already used the corridor, which Ukraine began to build after Russia refused to renew the grain deal and despite its threats to sink ships sailing to Ukrainian ports.
According to the newspaper's sources, two ships reached Odesa on Sunday, two more reached Chornomorsk, and the New Legacy arrived in Pivdenny the same day. This means that the vessels have now reached all three deepwater ports using the temporary Ukrainian corridor. Separately, five vessels that have been stuck in Ukraine since the start of the war, have used the same route to leave the blocked ports.
It is also reported that international insurance companies have begun to resume insurance coverage.
"The ships’ passage signals that Ukraine’s daring bet to set up its own trade route after the collapse of a safe-corridor agreed with Russia has paid off," the agency writes.
According to Bloomberg, under the Safe Corridor agreement, all ships heading to Ukraine are inspected in Istanbul, and their cargo consists only of agricultural goods.
To a large extent, the corridor's operation was made possible by the neutralization of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, which was targeted by the Ukrainian Armed Forces after Vladimir Putin refused to extend the agreement with the UN and Turkey on the export of Ukrainian grain.
"So far the success is mostly symbolic, with ship traffic still requiring cautious maneuvers close to the coast of Bulgaria and Romania as vessels head to Ukraine," the report said.
At the same time, insurance broker Miller, technology company Clearwater Dynamics and the Ukrainian authorities said they had "joined forces to offer full insurance coverage against all military risks for vessels operating in the Black Sea."
With the help of Clearwater Dynamics' advanced technology, all vessels travelling through the corridor and staying at Ukrainian ports are now tracked around the clock until they leave the high-risk area.
Mine barriers protect the new corridor. The route runs along the coast to the waters of Romania and Bulgaria, which are NATO countries. Previously, the grain corridor went directly across the sea to Istanbul, where a joint commission of UN, Turkish and Russian representatives inspected ships delivering Ukrainian grain.
Black Sea Grain Initiative
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 even 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 10, the Ukrainian Navy announced a temporary humanitarian corridor for merchant ships sailing to and from Ukrainian ports.
On August 12, Ukraine opened the 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 4, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, following a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, expressed hope that an agreement on the Black Sea Grain Initiative would be reached in a short time.
On September 16, the blocked bulk carrier PUMA (Cayman Islands) left the Odesa seaport. The vessel was loaded with 16,000 tons of metal and 14,000 tons of rapeseed.
On the same day, Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said that the first civilian ships had confirmed their readiness to use the route to the Chornomorsk port to load almost 20,000 tons of wheat for Africa and Asia.
On September 16, Kubrakov said that after Russia withdrew from the grain deal, the occupiers struck Ukraine's ports 118 times. About a third of the infrastructure was damaged or destroyed.
On September 19, the vessel RESILIENT AFRICA left Odesa's Chornomorsk port via a temporary corridor: it was loaded with 3,000 tons of wheat