Ukraine-bound grain ship’s engine fails in Bosphorus, second incident this week

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A cargo ship bound for Ukraine to pick up grains under a UN-brokered deal had a brief engine failure as it was transiting Istanbul’s Bosphorus Strait overnight, a shipping company said on Saturday, marking a second incident this week.

The Briza’s engine failed around 2330 GMT on Friday and it anchored near Istanbul’s Kandilli region, Tribeca Shipping said.

The ship lifted anchor at 0120 GMT on Saturday and was to proceed to an anchorage area in the southern Bosphorus by tug boats, it said.

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Traffic in the Bosphorus was halted and southbound traffic was to continue at 0530 GMT, Tribeca added. Refinitiv Eikon data showed the Briza was anchored to the south of the Bosphorus at 0628 GMT.

Lady Zehma, a cargo ship carrying more than 3,000 tonnes of corn from Ukraine, was towed to anchorage in Istanbul after briefly running aground due to a rudder failure on Thursday night.

Such incidents are rare on the picturesque Bosphorus, which divides Turkey’s largest city and connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea and beyond to the Mediterranean.

The Istanbul-based Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) - which oversees the agreement and includes United Nations, Russian, Ukrainian and Turkish officials - said on Friday the Briza was inspected and cleared to sail to Ukraine along with seven other ships.

As of Friday, some 1.77 million tonnes of grain and other foodstuffs had been exported from Ukraine under the deal, while 160 inbound and outbound voyages had been enabled, the JCC said.

Ukraine’s grain exports slumped after Russia invaded the country on February 24 and blockaded its Black Sea ports, driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East.

Three ports were unblocked under the deal signed on July 22 by Moscow and Kyiv, and brokered by the UN and Ankara.

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