Backlog of vessels with Ukrainian grains waiting for inspection in the Black Sea
ISTANBUL (Turkiye), Oct 15 (NNN-MERCOPRESS) — With nearly 100 grain-laden ships reaching towards the horizon off Istanbul, the U.N. official overseeing exports from Ukraine is asking Russia and other parties to end “full-blown” inspections of outgoing vessels to ease the backlog.
Ukraine has exported more than 6.8 million tons of grain and other foodstuffs, about a third of its storage, since a sea corridor from the war-torn country opened in July.
The U.N. says the safe passage deal signed by Moscow and Kyiv eased a global food crisis. But as more shippers have joined, the handful of teams inspecting cargo and crew transiting Turkish waters started to fall behind, leaving scores of vessels anchored in the Marmara Sea.
Amir Abdulla, U.N. Coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative, said he had proposed quicker, targeted checks of ships arriving from Ukrainian ports.
The four parties to the deal – Russia, Ukraine, and brokers Turkey and the United Nations – are currently negotiating a possible extension and expansion beyond its Nov. 19 deadline.
“There will need to be a change, and I hope we can negotiate a better way of doing (inspections)” as part of those talks, Abdulla said in an interview at the four-party Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul.
On Monday, 97 outgoing ships carrying some 2.1 million tons of cargo were awaiting inspections, with one held up for 35 days. For those returning empty to Ukraine, the JCC said the backlog was 120 last week.
The delays worsened from mid-September, with wait times for inspections doubling to about 10 days by September 21. About 70% of ships that departed Ukraine after that date were still awaiting inspections.
The Kremlin and Russia’s defense ministry did not respond to requests for comment about adjusting inspections, according to international media.