The Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni sails under Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge after being inspected by Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN officials at the entrance of the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul, Turkey on Aug 3, 2022. (EMRAH GUREL / AP)
ISTANBUL – The first grain-laden ship leaving Ukraine passed through Istanbul's Bosphorus Strait on Wednesday and continued to its destination after the inspection team gave the green light.
Sierra-leone flagged vessel Razoni, which sailed off from Ukraine's Odesa port, exited the Bosphorus Strait around 4:00 pm local time (1300 GMT). It took nearly two hours to pass through the 31-km long strait, which connects the Black Sea with the Marmara Sea.
The vessel, which was inspected by a joint team of specialists in the morning before it could pass, was then escorted by boats belonging to the Turkish Coastal Guard through its entire passage.
Sierra-leone flagged vessel Razoni's passage through Istanbul's Bosphorus Strait marks the first successful large shipment of Ukrainian grain to international markets as a part of the United Nations-backed deal between Türkiye, Russia and Ukraine signed on July 22
The captain of Razoni received the inspection team on board. Following a short welcoming speech, the team started to explore the load, as the video released by the Turkish Defence Ministry showed.
Razoni is expected to arrive at its destination in Lebanon on Sunday, with a cargo of over 26,000 tonnes of corn.
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The ship's passage marks the first successful large shipment of Ukrainian grain to international markets as a part of the United Nations-backed deal between Türkiye, Russia and Ukraine signed on July 22.
The agreement aims to resume food and fertilizer exports from the Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea. Some 20 million tonnes of grain still reside in Ukrainian silos, waiting to be exported, according to Türkiye's state-run Anadolu agency.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu commented on the passage after he met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Cambodia on Wednesday, saying more efforts aimed at easing the export of certain items are being undertaken by Russia and Türkiye.
During the meeting with his Russian counterpart, the probability of the dialogue starting with the grain agreement leading to a cease-fire was also discussed, Cavusoglu noted.
Speaking in the Turkish capital of Ankara after a food security meeting on Wednesday, Turkish Minister of Finance and Treasury Nureddin Nebati said that the UN-brokered agreement was already starting to positively reflect on the global food prices.
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Turkish experts predict in the case of more successful shipments, soaring global food prices might at least stabilize, if not decrease.