First Ukraine grain ship will anchor off Istanbul on Aug 2: Turkish defense minister

The first vessel carrying Ukrainian grain left the port of Odesa and is expected to reach Istanbul on Aug. 2, Turkey's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said.

The Sierra Leone-flagged ship Razoni leaves the sea port in Odesa after restarting grain export, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, Ukraine August 1, 2022.

Duvar English - Reuters

The first ship carrying grain to leave Ukraine under a safe passage agreement will anchor off the coast of Istanbul at around 3 p.m. local time on Aug. 2 for a joint inspection, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Aug. 1. 

Akar was speaking in an interview with Turkey's state-owned Anadolu news agency after the Sierra Leone-flagged ship Razoni, which is loaded with corn, left the Ukrainian port of Odesa for Lebanon.

Following the inspections in Istanbul, the ship will continue on its way to the port of Tripoli. It is carrying a cargo of 26,527 tonnes of corn.

Akar said that the efforts on grain shipments from Ukraine will continue, adding that this matter is a "humanitarian issue."

"The next ships will continue likewise without any disruptions," he said. 

Turkey, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed a deal on July 22 to reopen three Ukrainian ports -- Odesa, Chernomorsk, and Yuzhny -- for grain that has been stuck for months because of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, which is now in its sixth month.

To oversee Ukrainian grain exports, a joint coordination center in Istanbul was officially opened on July 27, comprising representatives from Turkey, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine to enable the safe transportation by merchant ships of commercial foodstuffs and fertilizers from the three key Ukrainian Black Sea ports.

Akar said the global food crisis had to be addressed, adding that it was "at a point where it can trigger migration. It may bring along a serious wave of migration from Africa to Europe and Turkey."

On grains and chemicals awaiting shipment out of Russian ports, Akar said Turkey would "be glad" to contribute on that issue as well.