Amid Russia's Black Sea blockade, Ukraine has embarked on a new strategy for grain exports, Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Friday.
A second vessel, the Palau-flagged Aroyat, recently departed from the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Chernomorsk, loaded with 17,600 tonnes of grain.
This marks the second ship to sail under these challenging circumstances, highlighting Ukraine's determination to find alternative routes for its vital grain exports.
Ukraine is currently evaluating a novel sea route that avoids international waters and instead follows the routes controlled by NATO members Bulgaria and Romania.
This shift in export strategy comes in response to Russia's withdrawal from a U.N.-backed grain export agreement.
The first ship, the Resilient Africa, carrying 3,000 tonnes of wheat, departed from the same port earlier in the week, with its destination set for Asia.
In an effort to address the predicament of ships trapped in its ports due to Russia's invasion in February 2022 and the collapse of the grain export deal, Ukraine declared a "humanitarian corridor" in the Black Sea last month.
Russia’s frequent drone and missile attacks on Ukrainian grain export infrastructure have further complicated the situation. Notably, Odesa's three seaports, including Chernomorsk, played a crucial role in shipping tens of millions of tons of grain during Russia's invasion under the U.N.-brokered deal.
Despite the challenges, several vessels that had been stranded in Odesa have managed to depart from the port.
They are utilizing a temporary corridor that closely hugs the western Black Sea coast, passing near Romania and Bulgaria.
The alternative route provides a lifeline for grain exports, allowing Ukraine to continue its contributions to the global food supply.