The Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) announced a new route for merchant vessels going in and departing from the three Ukrainian ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk, Pivdennyi/Yuzhny under the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The new route is 320 nautical miles long and connects the three Ukrainian ports with the inspection areas inside Turkish territorial waters.
The maritime humanitarian corridor, which makes part of this route, extends from the boundary of Ukrainian territorial seas to a southern waypoin. The route came into effect as of 26 August.
This route has been adjusted following an initial three weeks of operations. It allows for shorter transit in the maritime humanitarian corridor and easier planning for the shipping industry.
The route provides that while transiting the maritime humanitarian corridor, no military ship, aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicle may approach within a radius of 10 nautical miles of any vessel engaged in the Initiative and transiting the corridor.
The new coordinates have been disseminated through the international navigation system NAVTEX.
The JCC’s procedures state that any commercial vessel encountering provocations or threats while transiting the corridor should report immediately to the JCC.
BIMCO highly recommend ships employed under the Black Sea Grain Initiative to make use of the new route
During July, Russia and Ukraine signed a landmark deal to reopen Ukrainian Black Sea ports for grain exports, increasing hopes that an international food crisis aggravated by the Russian invasion can be eased.
Safe passage into and out of the ports would be guaranteed in what one official called a “de facto ceasefire” for the ships and facilities covered, they said, although the word “ceasefire” was not in the agreement text.
Monitored by a Joint Coordination Center based in Istanbul, the ships would then transit the Black Sea to Turkey’s Bosphorus strait and proceed to world markets.
The aim is to help avert famine among tens of millions of people in poorer nations by injecting more wheat, sunflower oil, fertilizer and other products into world markets including for humanitarian needs, partly at lower prices.