The scheduled arrival of the first grain ship to leave Ukraine and cross the Black Sea under a wartime deal has been delayed, a Lebanese minister and the Ukrainian embassy said.
The cause of the delay was not immediately clear and Marine Traffic, which monitors ship locations at sea, showed the Sierra Leone-flagged Razoni at anchor in the Mediterranean Sea near Turkey.
Lebanese Transport Minister Ali Hamie tweeted that the ship “which was rumored to be heading to the port of Tripoli in Lebanon” had changed status.
The ship left Odessa last Monday carrying Ukrainian corn and then passed an inspection in Turkey. It was due to arrive in the northern port of Tripoli around 10 a.m. on Sunday.
According to Marine Traffic, the ship changed its status Saturday to “on order,” meaning it was waiting for someone to buy the corn.
The Ukrainian Embassy in Beirut said the ship’s arrival had been postponed, adding that “an update on the ceremony will be sent later when we have information on the exact day and time of the arrival. ‘arrival of the ship’.
The expedition is scheduled at a time when the small Mediterranean nation is suffering from a food security crisis, with runaway inflation, wheat shortages and queues. The ship is carrying 26,000 tonnes of maize for chicken feed.
The ship’s passage was the first under a groundbreaking deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations with Russia and Ukraine. The four sides signed agreements last month to create safe shipping corridors in the Black Sea to export agricultural products that Ukraine desperately needs as Russia’s war on its neighbor continues.
Lebanon’s worst economic crisis in its modern history, which began in late 2019, has left three-quarters of its population living in poverty while the Lebanese pound has lost more than 90% of its value.
The economic collapse rooted in decades of corruption and mismanagement was compounded by a massive explosion in August 2020 that destroyed the Port of Beirut and the country’s main grain silos inside the sprawling facility.
Lebanese officials said last week that the Razoni was supposed to leave Ukraine and travel to Lebanon on February 24, but the departure was delayed by the war that broke out days later.
On Friday, three more ships carrying thousands of tons of maize left Ukrainian ports and passed through mined waters to inspect their delayed cargo, a sign that the international grain export deal suspended since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia was progressing slowly.
Four other ships carrying agricultural goods stranded by war in Ukraine received permission to leave the Black Sea coast on Sunday and are expected to leave Chornomorsk and Odessa on Monday.