Outbound inspections resume for Black Sea Grain Corridor ships

Inspections of cargo on outbound vessels from Ukraine resumed on Tuesday May 9th, the UN has reported. There had been no inbound or outbound inspections of ships on Sunday or Monday this week.

Inspections are undertaken by a Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul. The JCC is made up of representatives from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the UN.

Deputy U.N. spokesperson Farhan Haq said that “the JCC has confirmed that inspections have resumed today on outbound vessels”.

Senior officials from the four parties are due to meet for talks in Istanbul this week, but Russia has said that it would not extend the pact beyond May 18th unless various financial and insurance obstacles to its own grain and fertilizer exports – goods which are not subject to EU or G7 sanctions – are removed. UN aid head Martin Griffiths is traveling to Istanbul to take part in the talks, said Haq.

Speaking on Tuesday May 9th, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar described discussions ahead of the planned meeting on Wednesday and Thursday as “positive”, adding that “we will be working to continue the grains deal on May 18th without allowing for any stoppage or cessation”.

In the tortuous negotiations leading up to the agreement signed last July, the west had signed a three-year pact under which the UN agreed to help Russia facilitate exports of grain and fertilizer.

While those Russian exports are not subject to Western sanctions imposed following the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Russia has claimed, with some justification, that restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance – as well as “self-censoring” on the part of western financial companies taking a cautious approach to any dealings with Russia, had served to make any shipments, even those of non-sanctioned goods, very difficult.