President Zelensky joined ambassadors from the G7 industrialized nations a week after the Black Sea Grain Initiative was signed with the United Nations to resume gain shipments from three Ukrainian Black Sea Ports.
The Ukrainian leader stood pridefully in front of the Turkish-registered ship Polarnet and emphasized the country’s eagerness to push its grain out by saying, “We are ready to export Ukrainian grain. We are waiting for signals from our partners about the start of transportation.”
Although crucial, the first departure from Ukrainian ports will serve more as a research operation than as a means of establishing a necessary supply channel. Talks between Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken were said to have had a ‘frank and direct’ discussion today, Friday, on the current grain issue.
Blinken noted that he insisted to the Foreign Minister that he had a duty. Saying that “Russia must honor its commitment to allow grain exports from Ukraine and that the world would not accept Russian annexation of Ukrainian territory
The alleged first grain ship is a 41,550 dwt Rojen bulk carrier. Rojen is one of approximately 80 ships stranded in Ukrainian ports since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But, today, it all changes. A bulk carrier is waiting to depart Ukraine’s port of Chornomorsk today, acting as the first vessel to participate in the “Black Sea Grain Initiative.” Although speculation still circles over which vessel will be the first to set sail as security analysts have warned of the fragility of the agreement.
With many curious whether the shipments will go out in smaller convoys or large vessels, the word is at the edge of its sea, eagerly awaiting a departure. While monitoring services note that several other vessels are displaying activity and have switched on their AIS signals after going dark early in the conflict, Turkey’s Polarnet may be the first to depart. While other operational boats, the Malta-flagged bulker Rojen also docked in Chornomorsk, and the Panama-flagged Navi Star (38,200 dwt) anchored in Odesa are also contenders for the first boat to depart.
A Joint Control Centre (JCC) has been established in Turkey and is staffed by UN officials to oversee whether this new agreement is a practical way to move the more than 20 million tons of grain harvested from Ukraine last year. The JCCwill closely follow the ship’s passage, which is owned by Navibulgar and insured by the West of England P&I Club.
Based on projections that 20 million tonnes must be delivered within four months, Braemar respectively estimates that it is reasonable to presume that Ukraine will comprise the majority of the vessel mix, possibly lifting those cargoes due to inquiries this week having primarily been handy-based.
The World Food Programme, a UN organization, is leading several discussions concerning freight rates for future shipments within the 120 days granted for the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The UN has said that it believes the agreement will be extended. But the group seems anxious to get the process in motion as soon as possible.
The first shipments are scheduled to go to Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, which the UN highlights as facing the most significant food shortages. According to brokers Braemar, handies are being requested in several African ports due to their size and the shorter draft restrictions.
Dryad Global warned how the first week of the operation will be highly significant for the initiative, adding that these agreements often get broken within their first days, “While there are strong reasons for Russia to act strictly within the bounds of their agreement with Turkey and prevent any attacks on grain terminals and ships, this conflict has repeatedly demonstrated the importance of never assuming Russia will behave within the bounds of reason.”
Putting its faith into the Black Sea Grain Agreement was Lloyd’s of London, which fulfilled one of the final requirements needed to begin transport. Lloyd’s confirmed today that the company would provide up to $50 million in cargo and war coverage insurance.
As they depart for the first time since Russia’s invasion, the vessels will be escorted by Ukrainian planes and smaller boats as they leave the ports. They will be led past the mines set and reach the Bosphorus to conduct the mandatory checks when they get to the open sea.