Four more bulkers are sailing to carry Ukrainian grain shipments under a UN-brokered safe passage deal, after the first successful export was carried out on Wednesday.
Three laden ships that had so far been blocked at Ukrainian ports departed the war-torn country in the morning of Friday, MarineTraffic shows.
In addition, an empty ship was due to depart to Ukraine after being inspected in Istanbul.
The authorisation for the move was announced late on Thursday by Turkish defence minister Hulusi Akar after talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov and Ukrainian infrastructure minister Oleksandr Kubrakov.
In a statement later in the day, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) identified the three ships leaving on Friday as the 12,200-dwt Polarnet (built 2016), the 38,200-dwt Navi Star (built 2011) and the 41,600-dwt Rojen (built 2019).
The Polarnet and Rojen are anchored at Chornomorsk and the Navi Star at Odesa. The three ships are carrying about 58,000 tons of corn between them to various destinations in Europe — the Rojen to Teesport in UK, the Navi Star to Ringaskiddy in Ireland and the Polarnet to Karasu in Turkey.
The Polarnet and Navi Star are managed by Turkish companies Polarcom and Cetinkaya respectively, while the Rojen is owned by Bulgaria's Navibulgar.
Chornomorsk, Odesa and Yuzhny are the three Ukrainian ports out of which the war-torn country's grain is to be exported under the UN-brokered deal.
The fourth, empty vessel currently in Turkish waters, is UAE-based Fulmar Shipping's 13,500-dwt Fulmar S (built 2007).
That belies previous information reported by Reuters earlier on Thursday that the vessel was Armador Shipping's 30,600-dwt Osprey S (built 2007).
The Fulmar S was due to set sail from an Istanbul anchorage for Chornomorsk at about 09.00 local time (0600 GMT) after inspection by a team of international officials.
Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and the UN agreed on 22 July to set up a Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) for the export of Black Sea grain, based in Istanbul.
JCC officials had already said on Wednesday that several ships were in the pipeline to export Ukrainian grain after a first shipment under the scheme was cleared on the same day on the 29,300-dwt bulker Razoni (built 1996).
The Razoni, a vessel managed out of Turkey and which may be controlled by Syrian interests, is currently sailing in the Aegean Sea with 27,000 tonnes of grain en route from Odesa to Tripoli, Lebanon.
The IMO said in its statement late on Thursday that the JCC authorised the move of the four new bulkers after the “lessons learned” from the voyage of the Razoni and in a bid to “test multi-ship operations in the corridor including an inbound ship”.
“In addition, the corridor has been revised to allow for more efficient passage of ships while maintaining safety,” the IMO added.
Ukraine on Friday called for the Black Sea grain deal to extend to other products, such as metals, according to the Financial Times.