Inspection team heads for first Ukraine grain ship off Turkish coast

The inspection by Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN personnel working at a Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in nearby Istanbul was expected to be completed around midday.

The Joint Coordination Centre officials are seen onboard Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni, carrying Ukrainian grain, during an inspection in the Black Sea off Kilyos, near Istanbul, Turkey August 3, 2022. (photo credit: TURKISH DEFENCE MINISTRY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
The Joint Coordination Centre officials are seen onboard Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni, carrying Ukrainian grain, during an inspection in the Black Sea off Kilyos, near Istanbul, Turkey August 3, 2022.
(photo credit: TURKISH DEFENCE MINISTRY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

A team of inspectors headed off on a boat to check the first grain-carrying ship to leave Ukrainian ports in wartime on Wednesday, footage on state broadcaster TRT Haber showed, a day after it anchored in the Black Sea off Turkey's coast.

The ship, Razoni, departed from Ukraine's Odesa port on the Black Sea early on Monday carrying 26,527 tonnes of corn to Lebanon's Tripoli. It anchored at the entrance of the Bosphorus on Tuesday night.

The sailing was made possible after Ankara and the United Nations brokered a grain and fertilizer export agreement between Moscow and Kyiv last month - a rare diplomatic breakthrough in a drawn-out war of attrition.

Two boats carrying inspection personnel took off from a small fishing port in Istanbul's Rumeli Feneri towards the ship, which was circled by two coast guard boats while a helicopter flew around it.

Wednesday's inspection by Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN personnel working at a Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in nearby Istanbul was expected to be completed around midday (12:00 p.m. Jerusalem). It was not clear when the ship would set off on the rest of the trip.

The Joint Coordination Centre officials board Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni, carrying Ukrainian grain, for an inspection in the Black Sea, off Kilyos, near Istanbul, Turkey August 3, 2022. (credit: TURKISH DEFENCE MINISTRY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)The Joint Coordination Centre officials board Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni, carrying Ukrainian grain, for an inspection in the Black Sea, off Kilyos, near Istanbul, Turkey August 3, 2022. (credit: TURKISH DEFENCE MINISTRY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said that more outbound movement was being planned from Ukraine on Wednesday, adding that about 27 ships were covered by the export deal.

A senior Turkish official told Reuters on Tuesday that Ankara expects roughly one ship to leave three Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea daily.

A military officer leaves a news conference at The Joint Coordination Centre hours after the first ship to carry Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea, since Russia invaded Ukraine five months ago, left the port of Odesa for Lebanon in Istanbul, Turkey, August 2, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/UMIT BEKTAS)A military officer leaves a news conference at The Joint Coordination Centre hours after the first ship to carry Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea, since Russia invaded Ukraine five months ago, left the port of Odesa for Lebanon in Istanbul, Turkey, August 2, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/UMIT BEKTAS)

Ukraine's grain can help ease global food shortages

The exports from one of the world's top grain producers are intended to help ease global food shortages and rising prices.

As part of the agreement, the four parties are monitoring shipments and conducting inspections from the JCC in Istanbul, which straddles the Bosphorus Strait that connects the Black Sea to world markets