Beirut, Aug 8 (EFE).- A Lebanese trader who was expected to buy the grain aboard the first ship to leave the port of Odesa since Russia invaded Ukraine has rejected the goods as Kyiv scrambles to source a new buyer, the Ukrainian embassy in Beirut told Efe Monday.
According to the Ukrainian transport ministry, the buyer in Lebanon “refused to accept the cargo” aboard the Razoni and the owner of the grain is trying to find another buyer for the goods.
The new sale could be made to another trader in the northern Lebanese port of Tripoli, where the bulk carrier was initially scheduled to arrive over the weekend, or to a buyer from a different country, according to the embassy.
The Razoni, a Sierra Leone-flagged vessel, left the Ukrainian port of Odesa on August 1 and sailed through the Bosphorus two days later after passing an inspection by the Joint Coordination Center (JCC), a commission of Russian, Ukrainian and Turkish delegates, in accordance with an Ankara-brokered and United Nations-backed deal that was struck on July 22 between Moscow and Kyiv.
After heated negotiations, the warring countries agreed on a safe corridor from Odesa to pave the way for the shipment of 20 million tons of grain that had been blocked in Ukraine since February when Russia launched its full-blown offensive.
The months-long trading blockade and the fact Ukraine is one of the world’s largest grain exporters has triggered a global food crisis that has affected Middle Eastern and African nations predominantly.
Meanwhile, the Polarnet, another ship loaded with corn which left Ukraine last week, docked at the Turkish port of Derince, east of Istanbul, on Monday.
“This sends a message of hope to every family in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia: Ukraine won’t abandon you. If Russia sticks to its obligations, the ‘grain corridor’ will keep maintaining global food security,” Ukraine’s foreign affairs minister Dmytro Kuleba said.
The Polarnet, which left Chornomorsk on Friday with 12,000 tons of corn, arrived in Istanbul on Saturday night and was inspected the next day by a team from the JCC.
The merchant ship arrived Monday morning in Derince, some 80 kilometers east of the Bosphorus, where its cargo will be unloaded and distributed domestically.
A further two ships inspected on Saturday and Sunday are still en route.
The Rojen, bound for Teesport in the United Kingdom, has just passed the Dardanelles, and the Navi Star, which is heading towards Ireland, remains anchored near Istanbul where freighters usually refuel before continuing their journey.EFE