The Sierra Leone-flagged freighter Razoni carrying Ukrainian grain leaves port, in Odessa, Ukraine, August 1, 2022, in this screen grab from a video for distribution. Oleksandr Kubrakov/ Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure/Handout via REUTERS

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LONDON, Aug 1 (Reuters) – Key provisions, including vessel procedures, still need to be worked out before empty vessels can enter and pick up cargo from Ukraine using the new grain corridor, it said on Monday. a senior official in the London marine insurance market.

Turkey and the United Nations brokered a grain and fertilizer export deal between Russia and Ukraine last month – a rare diplomatic breakthrough in a conflict that continues with no resolution in sight.

“Standard operating procedures for ships still need to be worked out and there are crewing issues that still need to be resolved,” Neil Roberts, head of marine and aviation at Lloyd’s Market, told Reuters. Association.

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“There is still a long way to go,” said Roberts, whose association represents the interests of all underwriting businesses in the Lloyd’s of London insurance market.

Shipping companies and insurers who cover ships need to be assured that the voyage is safe, with no threat of mines or attacks to ships and their crews. These are generally covered by accepted maritime practices known as standard operating procedures.

Standard operating procedures will be finalized shortly and will then be made public, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Monday.

Turkish, Russian and Ukrainian military officials, together with a UN team, have set up a Joint Coordination Center (JCC) in Istanbul to enable the transport of food and fertilizer by merchant ships from Odessa, Chornomorsk and Yuzhny – three key Ukrainian Black Sea ports.

Ships entering to pick up cargo will need to be inspected by the JCC in a Turkish port, unlike ships already in Ukrainian ports waiting to depart.

“New ships present a different set of logistical challenges and it will take a few days. This is something JCC Istanbul is still grappling with,” Roberts said.

“Patience is required to await developments as this is still an ongoing dispute.”

The Sierra Leone-flagged ship Razoni, carrying grain, left the Ukrainian port of Odessa for Lebanon earlier on Monday under a safe passage agreement – the first departure since the Russian invasion blocked the navigation via the Black Sea five months ago. The vessel had been in Ukraine for several months.

“It remains a case of steady but cautious progress,” Roberts said of Razoni’s departure.

Roberts said Lloyd’s Joint Market Warfare Committee, whose advice on high-risk areas is closely watched and influences underwriters’ considerations on insurance premiums, met earlier on Monday to share information. on the situation, adding that the market was waiting for more details on the procedures for entering ships to Ukraine.

About 80 ships remain stranded in Ukraine and the evacuation of most of their crew means more sailors are needed in the region to move cargo forward. Read more

Roberts said those ships have coverage unless it has expired and needs to be renegotiated.

London’s insurance market has placed the entire region on a high-risk list, meaning skyrocketing costs for shipments.

“The safety of seafarers and portworkers must remain the priority,” said Chris Oliver of the International Chamber of Shipping.

“Much remains to be done to ensure that we can safely export the approximately 5 million tonnes of grain per month proposed by the UN. It will be a challenge, but our industry is resilient and used to keeping trade flowing no matter what.

Underscoring the wider risks ahead, on Sunday evening, just hours before the ship’s departure, the Romanian military carried out a controlled detonation of a naval mine that had drifted near the Black Sea coast, it said. the Ministry of Defence.

Romania’s defense ministry said the mine it detonated on Sunday, the second handled by the Romanian military since March, was drifting about two nautical miles off the Romanian coast.

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Reporting by Jonathan Saul, additional reporting by Michelle Nichols in New York; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Frank Jack Daniel

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