The first shipment of over 26,000 tonnes of Ukrainian food under a Black Sea export deal was cleared to proceed today towards its final destination in Lebanon.

"A joint civilian inspection team including officials from the Russian Federation, Türkiye, Ukraine and the United Nations visited the merchant vessel Razoni this morning," says an update from the International Maritime Organization (IMO). "Checks on cargo and crew were conducted on behalf of the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC), set up in Istanbul under the Black Sea Grain Initiative signed on July 22."

This marks the conclusion of an initial "proof of concept" operation to execute the agreement, says the statement. "Three ports in Ukraine are due to resume the export of millions of tons of wheat, corn and other crops at a time of global food insecurity.

The Razoni arrived at anchorage in Istanbul yesterday evening after sailing from Odessa port on 1 August as the first commercial vessel carrying grain under the Black Sea Grain Initiative."

The team carried out a three-hour inspection and confirmed that crew and cargo are as authorised and consistent with the information the JCC received before the vessel sailed from Odessa, the note added.

The JCC will use this voyage in its on-going work on fine-tuning procedures, and processes to enable the continuation of safe passage of commercial vessels across the Black Sea under the initiative.

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