Oleksandr Kubrakov said on August 6 that a Barbados-flagged general cargo ship was in the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk to take on a load of grain.
“The Fulmar S is the first vessel to enter our seaport for loading since the beginning of the full-scale invasion,” Kubrakov wrote on Facebook.
“This event is also an important signal to the market that the grain corridor is a safe and most importantly profitable business opportunity for ship owners to return to Ukrainian ports,” he said.
The final destination of the vessel after unloading was to be the Turkish port of Iskenderun.
“We are planning to quickly load the vessel and send it to the destination port. We are ready to facilitate the capacity of the ports to handle at least 100 vessels a month,” the minister said.
A day earlier, the Turkish and Ukrainian authorities said three vessels carrying a total of up to 80,000 tons of corn had been cleared to leave Ukrainian ports. This was part of a deal to unblock grain exports.
After the outbreak of a full-scale war on February 24, 2022, a significant part of the southern territory of Ukraine was blocked. Therefore, the ability of Ukraine to export goods by sea was eliminated.
Ukraine blamed a Russian blockade of its ports for the halt in grain shipments. At that time, Moscow blamed mines in the water placed by Ukraine as protection from a Russian amphibious assault.
In a deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations last month, Moscow and Kyiv agreed to resume shipments of wheat and other grain from three Ukrainian ports. It was for the first time since Russia invaded more than five months ago.
The halting of grain shipments from Ukraine, one of the world’s biggest grain exporters, contributed to a spike in food prices and caused concern about countries in the Middle East and Africa receiving enough grain and other commodities to feed their populations.