The first ship carrying grain from Ukraine’s deep-sea ports was safely in the Black Sea and heading to Istanbul for inspections following a safe passage agreement with Russia, AgriCensus reported on 2 August.

Russia had been blockading Ukrainian ports since 24 February, following its invasion of Ukraine, but an agreement was signed between Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations (UN) on 22 July to resume shipments, while a similar agreement was also signed between Russia, Turkey and the UN, the news agency said.

The Razoni vessel, which was carrying 26,000 tonnes of Ukrainian corn, left Novolog terminal in Odessa port on Monday and was heading to the port of Tripoli, Lebanon, according to AgriCensus.

The exporter was said to be Grainexpo, while market sources said the cargo belonged to VA Intertrading.

“In the ports of greater Odessa, there are 16 more ships waiting their turn. These are vessels that have been blocked since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine,” Ukraine's minister of infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov said in a note.

“At the same time, we will receive applications for the arrival of new vessels for loading agricultural products,” he added.

Apart from Odessa, the ports of Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi are expected to be the main places of export, according to Kubrakov.

The minister was quoted in a 1 August AgriCensus report as saying that Ukraine planned to reach full capacity for trans-shipment of agricultural products in the coming weeks, with the help of international partners.

Kyiv said 17 ships were blockaded in ports with almost 600,000 tonnes of cargo, mainly grain, the Metro reported on 2 August.

Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s grain has contributed to a global food crisis, according to a BBC report on 1 August, with cooking oils and fertiliser also increasing in price.

Ukraine accounted for 16% of the world’s corn supplies and 42% of sunflower oil, according to UN data quoted by the BBC.