BEIRUT ( Associated Press) — The arrival of the first grain ship to leave Ukraine under a war deal and cross the Black Sea was delayed on Sunday, a minister in the Lebanese government and the Ukrainian embassy said.
The reason for the delay was not immediately clear, and Maritime Traffic, which monitors maritime traffic and the location of ships at sea, showed Rajoni, a Sierra Leone-flagged freighter, anchored in the Mediterranean Sea near Turkey.
Lebanese Transport Minister Ali Hami tweeted that the ship “which was rumored to have arrived at the port of Tripoli in Lebanon” had changed its position. Haimi declined to comment further when contacted by the Associated Press.
The ship left Odessa with a cargo of Ukrainian corn last Monday, and later passed an inspection in Turkey. It was to reach the Lebanese port of Tripoli at around 10 am on Sunday. According to Maritime Traffic, the ship changed its status to “Ordered” on Saturday, indicating that the ship was waiting for someone to buy corn.
The Ukrainian embassy in Beirut said the ship’s arrival was being delayed, adding that “an update on the ceremony will be sent later, when we have information on the exact day and time of the ship’s arrival.”
The small Mediterranean country is mired in a food security crisis, with skyrocketing food inflation, wheat shortages and bread queues. The ship carries about 26,000 tonnes of corn for poultry feed.
The cargo ship traveled under an agreement by Turkey and the United Nations with Russia and Ukraine. The four sides last month agreed to build a secure Black Sea freight corridor for Ukraine’s exports of agricultural products, which is in desperate demand as Russia continues its fierce war with its neighbour.
The worst Lebanese economic crisis in modern history, which began in late 2019, has left three quarters of the population in poverty, and the Lebanese pound has lost more than 90% of its value.
The economic collapse, the product of decades of corruption and mismanagement, was compounded by a major explosion in August 2020 that destroyed Beirut’s port and the country’s main grain silos, which were housed in the sprawling port complex. Most of those silos collapsed in recent days after remaining grain caught fire and caught fire in the summer heat last month.
Lebanese officials said last week that Rajoni was expected to leave for Lebanon from Ukraine on February 24, but the departure was delayed because of the war that broke out days later.
On Friday, three more ships carrying tons of corn left Ukrainian ports and sailed through mining waters to inspect their cargo, a sign that an international agreement to export grain during fighting in Ukraine is yet to come. was also applicable.
Four more ships carrying agricultural cargo, delayed by the war in Ukraine, were allowed to leave Ukrainian Black Sea ports on Sunday.