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Ukraine’s First U.N. Grain Ship Prepares to Depart for Africa

PIVDENNYI PORT, Ukraine — Sailors in blue and orange coveralls milled round on the deck of the freighter Courageous Commander on Sunday as a collection of chutes and conveyors loaded the ship’s cargo bay with 23,000 metric tons of wheat certain for Africa.

The Courageous Commander, a Lebanese-flagged freighter, was scheduled to depart later within the day from Pivdennyi, one in every of Ukraine’s largest ports on the Black Sea, close to Odesa. It’s the first ship specifically chartered by the World Meals Program as a part of an effort to direct much-needed grain to international locations affected most by meals shortages attributable to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This cargo will finally make its strategy to Ethiopia, which is on “the sting of famine,” in keeping with Marianne Ward of the World Meals Program, a United Nations company.

“This meals will make an enormous distinction for them,” she stated. “The massive message for us is the world wants the meals of Ukraine.”

Final yr, Ukrainian grain is estimated to have fed 400 million folks, in keeping with Ms. Ward, and the absence of shipments from Ukrainian ports blockaded by Russian warships within the Black Sea has had profound repercussions across the globe. Costs have soared and tens of hundreds of thousands of individuals, principally within the Center East and Africa, have been put susceptible to famine.

At the least 5 international locations at the moment are experiencing famine-like situations and one other 20 are on the “watch listing for famine,” stated Denise Brown, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine.

Pivdennyi Port is the final of the Odesa area’s three foremost ports to come back on-line following months of hiatus because the begin of the struggle on Feb. 24. On Aug. 1, the primary ship loaded with Ukrainian harvest departed the Port of Odesa, following an settlement brokered by the United Nations and Turkey to permit the export of roughly 20 million tons of grain that had been caught in Ukrainian silos because the starting of the struggle.

Since then, at the very least eight ships have efficiently traversed the mined waters of the Black Sea to ship grain to Europe, the Center East and Asia.

Aboard the Courageous Commander, which arrived in Ukraine from Istanbul final week, crew members had been busy readying the ship to sail as a big chute pumped golden wheat into the cargo maintain. The sailors stated that they had no considerations about security, though that they had anticipated to come across extra hassle when their ship docked in Ukraine.

“We had been shocked as a result of you may have struggle in Ukraine,” stated a crew member from Syria who gave his title solely as Mohammad. “But it surely wasn’t troublesome.”

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