Inspections of ships carrying Ukrainian grain and other food exports have fallen to half since their peak, leading to backlogs in vessels that are carrying supplies to developing nations.
ccording to Ukrainian officials say, Russia is deliberately slowing down inspections, an accusation that a Russian official denied.
According to information provided to The Associated Press, after the Black Sea Grain Initiative started in August 2022, only 4.1 inspections of ships took place each day on average.
This number increased to 10.4 per day in September, before peaking at 10.6 in October. Since then, however, the number of inspections keeps falling, reaching 7.3 in November, 6.5 in December, and 5.3 in January.
As a matter of fact, over 100 vessels are waiting off Turkey either for inspection or for their applications to participate to clear. In addition, the UN informs that the waiting time of vessels between application and inspection averages 21 days.
Earlier, in November 2022, the UN and Ukraine agreed to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative by 120 days, aiming to ease global food shortages by facilitating Ukraine’s agricultural exports from its southern Black Sea ports.
Before this development, and after announcing its exit from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Russia informed that it will eventually renew its participation, as it considers that “the guarantees received at the moment appear sufficient.”
Russia had exited the agreement, claiming that the deal cannot guarantee the safety of civilian ships crossing the Black Sea.
However, on November 2, after days of negotiations, Russia decided to participate again, noting that it received enough guarantees to resume the implementation of the agreement.