The Josef Schulte container ship, which has been docked in Odessa since the Russian invasion last February, has set course for Istanbul, Turkey via a so-called humanitarian corridor announced by Ukraine last week.
“A ship is now sailing for the first time through the temporary corridor set up for civilian ships to and from ports along the Black Sea,” Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said in a statement.
– Ukraine has taken an important step in restoring freedom of navigation in the Black Sea, President Volodymyr Zelensky says about the trip.
A spokesman for shipping company Bernhard Schulte Ship Management (BSM) in Hamburg confirmed on Wednesday evening that the container ship has left Ukrainian waters and is on its way to the Bosphorus Strait. This is also confirmed by the ship’s position signal, which shows that it is off the coast of Romania.
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According to Kobrakov, Josef Schulte has 2,114 containers with a total payload of 30,000 tons on board. The ship is owned by BSM and a Chinese bank.
Kubrakov says Ukraine proposed the route the ship took in an appeal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which sets routes for international freight traffic.
The leadership in the Kremlin has not said whether it will honor the so-called corridor announced by Ukraine as an alternative to the grain deal from which Russia withdrew. Russia has previously threatened to attack ships that break its blockade in the Black Sea.