Ukraine grain cargo ship departs Odesa

A ship carrying grain left the Ukrainian port of Odesa for Lebanon on Monday under a safe passage agreement, Ukrainian and Turkish officials said, the first departure since the Russian invasion blocked shipping through the Black Sea five months ago.

The sailing follows the launch last week by Lloyd’s of a marine cargo and war insurance facility which will provide coverage for vital grain and food products transitioning through safe corridors established by the newly signed Black Sea Treaty between Russia and Ukraine.

Placed by Marsh, and led by Ascot, the Lloyd’s facility will provide up to $50 million in all risks marine cargo and war coverage. The facility will allow ships transporting grain, and other designated food products from Ukrainian ports, to have reliable and readily available coverage in place for their export voyages.

The prospective launch of the facility was first flagged by Emerging Risks.

Ukraine’s foreign minister called the sailing “a day of relief for the world”, especially for countries threatened by food shortages and hunger because of the disrupted shipments.

The sailing was also made possible after Turkey and the United Nations brokered a grain-and-fertiliser export agreement between Russia and Ukraine last month.

“The first grain ship since #RussianAggression has left port,” Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said. “Today Ukraine, together with its partners, makes another step to prevent world hunger.”

The Sierra Leone-flagged ship Razoni will head to Lebanon after transiting through the Bosporus Strait.

Russia and Ukraine account for nearly a third of global wheat exports. However, Western sanctions on Russia and fighting along Ukraine’s eastern seaboard had prevented grain ships safely leaving ports.

Commenting on the facility, Patrick Tiernan, chief of markets at Lloyd’s, said that the recovery of grain supplies is vital to addressing global food insecurity and market uncertainty at this difficult time.

He said that the facility “is of paramount importance. It will add essential protections to the deal brokered by the UN… and represents the latest support from Lloyd’s and the insurance industry to help the international community respond to the conflict.”