Two more grain-carrying ships left Ukraine’s Chornomorsk port on Tuesday as part of a deal to unblock Ukrainian maritime exports, Turkey’s defense ministry said, raising the total number of ships to leave the nation under a safe passage agreement to 12.

The Ocean Lion was hauling 64,720 tonnes of maize to South Korea, while the Rahmi Yagci was carrying 5,300 tonnes of sunflower meal to Istanbul.

The agreement was reached last month after the UN and Turkey warned that a halt in grain exports caused by the fighting may lead to serious food shortages and even breakouts of famine in some parts of the world.

Four ships that departed Ukraine on Sunday are anchored outside Istanbul and will be inspected on Tuesday, according to a statement from the defence ministry.

Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 in what it calls a “special operation” to demilitarize its neighbor, the two countries accounted for about a third of world wheat exports.

The restart of grain shipments is being controlled by a Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul, which is staffed by Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish, and United Nations employees.

Ukraine wants to sell 20 million tonnes of grain in silos and 40 million tonnes from its fresh harvest, according to Oleh Ustenko, the country’s economic adviser, in July. The government aims to collect $10 billion from the volumes, but according to Ustenko, exporting them might take 20 to 24 months if ports are not running effectively.

Source: Reuters

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