Russia, Ukraine agree to protect Ukraine grain shipping channel
By Jonathan Saul and Michelle Nichols
LONDON/NEW YORK, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Ships exporting Ukraine grain through the Black Sea will be protected by a 10 nautical mile buffer zone, according to long-awaited procedures agreed by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations on Monday and seen by Reuters.
The United Nations and Turkey brokered a deal last month after Russia's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine halted grain exports, stoking a global food crisis that the United Nations says has pushed tens of millions more people into hunger.
Since then Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations have been working to hammer out written procedures in the hope that it will assure shipping and insurance companies enough to resume grain and fertilizer shipments from the Ukrainian ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk and Yuzhny.
"We very much hope it will increase the traffic under this initiative," said U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric after the procedures were agreed.
The initiative has been operating in a trial phase for the past two weeks. Ten ships - stuck in Ukraine since the war started - have departed with corn, soybeans and sunflower oil and meal. Two empty vessels have traveled to Ukraine to collect shipments.
The biggest ship yet, the Ocean Lion, is due to leave the port of Chornomorsk on Tuesday to deliver 64,720 metric tons of corn to South Korea, said the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) on Monday. The JCC in Istanbul oversees the deal and is made up of Turkish, Russian, Ukrainian and U.N. officials.
Ukraine, along with Russia, is a major global supplier of wheat and other foodstuffs. However, the first ship to depart Ukraine under the U.N. deal last week is now looking for another port to unload after the initial Lebanese buyer refused delivery, citing a more than five-month delay.
The United Nations has stressed that the export deal is a commercial - not humanitarian - operation that will be driven by the market. All ships are required to be inspected to allay Russian concerns they could be smuggling weapons in to Ukraine.
Neil Roberts, head of marine and aviation at Lloyd's Market Association - which represents the interests of all underwriting businesses in the Lloyd's of London insurance market - told Reuters that the industry could now "play its part."
"The successful exit of multiple vessels was beyond the imagining of most people only a few weeks ago and to have come this far is extraordinary," said Roberts. "To actually achieve the goals of the U.N.'s initiative would be something for historians to reflect on."
The shipping and insurance industry wanted assurances of a secure journey with no threat of sea mines or attacks to their ships and crews. These are typically covered in standard operating procedures, which is what was agreed on Monday.
"The parties will not undertake any attacks against merchant vessels or other civilian vessels and port facilities engaged in this initiative," according to the 'procedures for merchant vessels' document.
One insurance industry source said the procedures "read as a reassuring set of rules. But will all sides stick to it?".
Under the agreed procedures, the JCC will provide information on the planned movement of ships through the maritime humanitarian corridor, which will be shared with Russia, Ukraine and Turkey's military to prevent incidents.
Then as the vessel moves through the maritime humanitarian corridor it will be protected by a 10 nautical mile circle buffer zone around it.
"No military vessel, aircraft or UAVs (drones) will close to within 10 nautical miles of a merchant vessel transiting the Maritime Humanitarian Corridor, excluding territorial seas of Ukraine," according to the document.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said there was "every chance" the pace of exports could be maintained.
"The key is how in the days to come our partners will prove able to prevent any attempts by Russia to disrupt exports and again further provoke a world food crisis," Zelenskiy said in a video address on Monday.
Russia has blamed Ukraine for stalling shipments by mining its port waters and rejects accusations Moscow is responsible for fueling the food crisis.
Reporting by Jonathan Saul and Michelle Nichols; additional reporting by Ronald Popeski; Editing by David Evans and Grant McCool
Disclaimer: Ang mga kabilang sa XM Group ay nagbibigay lang ng serbisyo sa pagpapatupad at pag-access sa aming Online Trading Facility, kung saan pinapahintulutan nito ang pagtingin at/o paggamit sa nilalaman na makikita sa website o sa pamamagitan nito, at walang layuning palitan o palawigin ito, at hindi din ito papalitan o papalawigin. Ang naturang pag-access at paggamit ay palaging alinsunod sa: (i) Mga Tuntunin at Kundisyon; (ii) Mga Babala sa Risk; at (iii) Kabuuang Disclaimer. Kaya naman ang naturang nilalaman ay ituturing na pangkalahatang impormasyon lamang. Mangyaring isaalang-alang na ang mga nilalaman ng aming Online Trading Facility ay hindi paglikom, o alok, para magsagawa ng anumang transaksyon sa mga pinansyal na market. Ang pag-trade sa alinmang pinansyal na market ay nagtataglay ng mataas na lebel ng risk sa iyong kapital.
Lahat ng materyales na nakalathala sa aming Online Trading Facility ay nakalaan para sa layuning edukasyonal/pang-impormasyon lamang at hindi naglalaman – at hindi dapat ituring bilang naglalaman – ng payo at rekomendasyon na pangpinansyal, tungkol sa buwis sa pag-i-invest, o pang-trade, o tala ng aming presyo sa pag-trade, o alok para sa, o paglikom ng, transaksyon sa alinmang pinansyal na instrument o hindi ginustong pinansyal na promosyon.
Sa anumang nilalaman na galing sa ikatlong partido, pati na ang mga nilalaman na inihanda ng XM, ang mga naturang opinyon, balita, pananaliksik, pag-analisa, presyo, ibang impormasyon o link sa ibang mga site na makikita sa website na ito ay ibibigay tulad ng nandoon, bilang pangkalahatang komentaryo sa market at hindi ito nagtataglay ng payo sa pag-i-invest. Kung ang alinmang nilalaman nito ay itinuring bilang pananaliksik sa pag-i-invest, kailangan mong isaalang-alang at tanggapin na hindi ito inilaan at inihanda alinsunod sa mga legal na pangangailangan na idinisenyo para maisulong ang pagsasarili ng pananaliksik sa pag-i-invest, at dahil dito ituturing ito na komunikasyon sa marketing sa ilalim ng mga kaugnay na batas at regulasyon. Mangyaring siguruhin na nabasa at naintindihan mo ang aming Notipikasyon sa Hindi Independyenteng Pananaliksik sa Pag-i-invest at Babala sa Risk na may kinalaman sa impormasyong nakalagay sa itaas, na maa-access dito.