Grain ship captain happy to sail out of Odesa

STORY: The Sierra Leone-flagged ship ‘Razoni’ left the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odesa in the morning bound for Lebanon under the deal struck between Ukraine, Russia, the United Nations and Turkey to avert a global food crisis.

“I am very happy. My crew is also (very) happy to leave the Odesa port,” said Mohamed Abdoh, the ship’s captain.

It's the first departure since the Russian invasion of Ukraine blocked shipping through the Black Sea five months ago.

“Hopefully, this is only going to be the first boat to leave Odesa in the coming days,” said Saviano Abreu, with the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Russia and Ukraine account for nearly a third of global wheat exports. But Western sanctions on Russia and fighting along Ukraine's eastern seaboard have prevented grain ships safely leaving ports.

The deal aims to allow safe passage for grain shipments in and out of three Odesa region ports in Chornomorsk, Odesa and Pivdennyi.

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