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Two Additional Vessels Exit Ukraine's Ports Defying Russian Authorization
By Sea and Coast | 04/09/2023
Despite Russian threats to maritime commerce in the northwestern Black Sea, two more vessels have successfully departed Ukraine unharmed, utilizing Kyiv's newly-established shipping corridor.
One of these vessels, the bulker Anna-Theresa, set sail from the port of Yuzhny on Friday, carrying a cargo of 56,000 tonnes of pig iron. This operation was confirmed by Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine's Minister of Infrastructure. Simultaneously, the bulker Ocean Courtesy, also departing from the same port, transported 170,000 tonnes of iron ore concentrate.
Following its journey, Ocean Courtesy headed straight for Constanta, Romania, where it remained anchored as of Monday. Anna-Theresa, previously known as Filia Glory, arrived in Istanbul on Saturday and is currently anchored in the Sea of Marmara.
These successful transits bring the total number of ships utilizing Ukraine's government-sponsored safe shipping regime to four. This accomplishment is particularly noteworthy in light of the risks posed by the de facto Russian blockade, including threats like drifting sea mines and the potential for high-seas boardings. To mitigate these risks, Ukraine's government has provided reinsurance to ensure coverage, as Western reinsurers have shown limited appetite for such high-risk operations.
Additionally, these vessels mark some of the first non-agricultural exports from Ukraine's Black Sea ports since the onset of the conflict. Last year, a deal brokered by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stipulated that Russia would refrain from attacking or threatening Ukrainian grain shipments, as long as these vessels were approved and inspected for weapons. While this agreement was originally limited to food shipments, it unraveled in July when Russia unilaterally withdrew. Erdogan has since been engaged in diplomatic efforts, collaborating with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and other global leaders, to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to reopen the route.
Putin will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday to address the condition of Ukrainian grain shipments. Erdogan has expressed optimism about the possibility of a diplomatic breakthrough.