UN-chartered food aid cargo ship readies to sail from Ukraine to Ethiopia
The United Nations-chartered ship Brave Commander will shortly set sail from Ukraine bound for Africa after it finishes loading more than 23,000 metric tonnes of wheat in the Ukrainian port of Pivdennyi, a UN official said.
The ship, which arrived in the port near Odessa, will sail to Ethiopia via a grain corridor through the Black Sea brokered by the UN and Turkey in late July. It will be the first humanitarian food aid cargo bound for Africa since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February under the framework of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The grain was urgently needed in Ethiopia, Denise Brown, UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine, said, adding that the United Nations would work to ensure continued shipments to countries around Africa that are facing famine and sharply higher food prices.
“On a very, very personal note, for any mothers who might be listening, seeing hunger in a child is very painful. Hunger, malnutrition is physically very, very painful,” said Brown, who was previously posted in the Central African Republic. “It’s up to all of us to help these children.” The cargo was funded with donations from the UN World Food Program, the US Agency for International Development and several private donors. Ukrainian authorities have not released details on when the Brave Commander will sail or when it will arrive in Ethiopia, citing security concerns.
A total of 16 ships have now departed from Ukraine, according to authorities there, following the deal with Russia to allow a resumption of grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, after they were stalled for five months due to the war. The first ship to depart Ukraine under the deal, the Sierra Leone-flagged Razoni, was approaching the Syrian port of Tartous on Sunday, two shipping sources said. Ukraine has some 20 million tonnes of grain left over from last year’s crop, while this year’s wheat harvest is also estimated at 20 million tonnes. So far most of the cargoes under the deal have carried grain for animal feed or for fuel.