The first shipment of Ukrainian cereals has not yet been delivered

On Monday, after three days in which it had not been possible to trace her, the first ship loaded with grain that left Ukraine since the beginning of the war docked in the port of Tartus, Syria. The ship is called Razoni and flies the flag of Sierra Leone: she had left the port of Odessa on 1 August, she was headed for Lebanon, where, however, the cargo of cereals had been refused and sent back. She then she had made a stop in Turkey, where part of the cereals had been unloaded. It is not clear why she is in Syria and what her future movements will be.

His departure was allowed by the agreement signed at the end of July between Ukraine and Russia, in the presence of the UN Secretary General António Guterres, after weeks of mediation managed mainly by Turkey. The agreement was received very positively: Ukraine is one of the main exporters in the world of cereals, and the blockade of exports caused by the war is generating a serious food crisis in various countries of the world, especially in the Middle East and Africa. For this reason the voyage of the first ship, the Razoni, had been very popular in the last two weeks.

After leaving the port of Odessa, Ukraine, the Razoni ship went through an inspection in Istanbul, Turkey, and then left for Lebanon, a country where 80 percent of imported cereals are Ukrainian and which is located for some time in a serious economic and food crisis. When she arrived in Lebanon, however, the ship was sent back because the buyers had refused the cargo, claiming that she was of poor quality (she had been stopped for months in Ukrainian ports).

There are no other details, nor a single version of what happened: unlike Reuters And Financial Timeswho followed the ship’s voyage very closely, Associated Press writes that the shipment of cereals would have been refused because it arrived too late with respect to the agreements.

After the refusal of the cargo in Lebanon, the Razoni ship had returned to Turkey, where last Thursday it had unloaded about 1,500 tons of corn and then left again, it seems for Egypt. By Friday, however, the ship had stopped transmitting its location signal and track was lost. The last signal had been sent off the northwest coast of the island of Cyprus, and the first news of its position only arrived between Sunday and Monday.

Quoting some satellite images from the American company Planet Labs, the Financial Times wrote that the Razoni is docked at the port of Tartus, in Syria.

It is not clear what will happen now: Syria is very close to Russia, which in Tartus has the only base of its Navy in the Mediterranean.

In fact, the turning off of the location signal could be due precisely to the fact that the Razoni ship was approaching Syria, a country on which various sanctions have been imposed due to the civil war in progress since 2011. The possible trade in food is not violates these sanctions, but according to some grain traders heard by the Financial Times ships avoid circulating too openly near Syrian ports in order not to incur the consequences of the sanctions. The Razoni ship had also reached Syria before the war, and on other occasions the sending of the signal had also been interrupted.

At the moment, neither the ship’s crew nor the United Nations-led Joint Coordination Center, which oversaw the agreement on the resumption of grain exports, could be contacted for clarification.

To date, that agreement has allowed 16 ships to leave, but the problems that Razoni’s voyage is having makes it clear how complicated it will be to re-establish the supply chain between Ukraine and the importing countries.

– Read also: Ukrainian cereals will be a problem for a long time to come

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About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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