Quality concerns over long-stored corn leaving Ukraine ports

Bulk carrier Ocean Lion (IMO 9296248) left the port of Chornomorsk on August 9th, heading for Incheon, South Korea, via Singapore, and bringing to 12 the number of ships to leave Ukraine since the four-way grain export deal was brokered by Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the UN late last month.

The Ocean Lion was notable in that it was the largest bulker to have departed a Ukraine port since February 24th, when Russia invaded. It was loaded with 65,000 mt of feed-grade corn.

The corn had been sold by Viterra to KFA Incheon before the invasion and the ship had been stranded at Chornomorsk ever since

While the shipment brought some optimism to the South Korean market, there were concerns about the quality of corn in the ship, given the fact that it had been stuck on board for months without proper ventilation and exposed to the heat and humidity.

A trader told Reuters that “for the case of Ocean Lion, there is a risk of it being rejected as it was not loaded recently. Part of the cargo was already loaded [prior to the invasion]”. The aflatoxin content is an important specification requirement for corn arriving in South Korea. “Aflatoxin is a critical toxin, if it is over 20 ppb, we cannot use it [for feed production] and will have to reject the cargo,” a South Korean feed buyer said.

Concerns about the state of long-stored cargo was behind the delay in the arrival of the Razoni (IMO 9086526) – the first ship to depart Ukraine under the new agreement. The vessel has finally arrived off the port of Mersin, southern Turkey, Turkey. Earlier a buyer in Lebanon refused to accept the cargo from the vessel, which was carrying more than 26,000 tonnes of corn, due to delivery delays. The Ukrainian Embassy in Lebanon said that “the buyer in Lebanon refused to accept the cargo due to delays in delivery terms (more than five months). So the shipper is looking for another consignee to offload his cargo either in Lebanon/Tripoli or any other country/port”.

General cargo ship Rahmi Yagci (IMO 9550852) also left Chornomorsk on August 9th , carrying 5,300 mt of sunflower, destined for Istanbul.

Bulk carrier Bonita (IMO 9231286) was expected to leave Pivdennyi (Yuzhne) port for South Korea. It was being loaded with 66,000 mt of food-grade corn after loading was suspended following the invasion.

2005-built, Liberia-flagged, 38,877 gt Ocean Lion is owned by Felice Navigation Inc care of Primerose Shipping Co Ltd of Piraeus, Greece. It is entered with London Club on behalf of Felice Navigation Inc. As of August 11th the vessel was at anchor south of Istanbul in the Marmara Sea.

1996-built, Sierra Leone-flagged, 18,495 gt Razoni is owned and managed by Razoni Shipping Ltd of Monrovia, Liberia. It is entered with MS Amlin on behalf of Razoni Shipping Ltd. As of August 11th it was listed as “underway” at the port of Mersin, south-eastern Turkey, no further destination designated.

2022-built, Turkey-flagged, 4,991 gt Rahmi Yagci is owned and managed by Yagci Denizcilik of Istanbul, Turkey. It is entered with Standard Club (London class) on behalf of YAGCI Denizcilik. As of August 11th the vessel was at the Bosphorus North Anchorage, en route to Aliaga, south-western Turkey.

2001-built, Liberia-flagged, 39,727 gt Bonita is owned by Pianara Shipping Inc care of Grehel Shipmanagement Co of Piraeus, Greece. It is entered with Swedish Club (Piraeus Team) on behalf of Pianara Shipping Inc. As of August 11th the vessel was still moored at Yuzhny (arrived February 23rd), no new destination designated.