A security officer stands next to the ship Navi-Star which sits full of grain as it waits to sail from the Odesa Sea Port, in Odesa, Ukraine, on July 29, 2022. (PHOTO / FILE / AP)
KYIV – The Ukrainian Naval Forces said on Thursday it has designated temporary corridors for merchant vessels sailing from and to Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea.
The sea lanes have been proposed by Ukraine to the International Maritime Organization, the Ukrainian Navy said in a statement on Facebook.
The routes will be primarily used to allow civilian ships stuck in the ports of Chornomorsk, Odesa and Pivdenny due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict to leave Ukrainian waters, according to the statement.
After the Black Sea Grain Initiative collapsed last month, Russia and Ukraine said they would consider ships sailing to each other's ports through the Black Sea as potential carriers of military cargo
The Ukrainian navy emphasized that military threats and mine danger in the Black Sea persist, blaming Russia for creating hazards to merchant shipping.
After the Black Sea Grain Initiative collapsed last month, Russia and Ukraine said they would consider ships sailing to each other's ports through the Black Sea as potential carriers of military cargo.
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"Vessels whose owners/captains officially confirm that they are ready to sail in the current conditions will be allowed to pass through the routes," the statement reads.
Oleh Chalyk, a spokesperson for Ukraine's navy, told Reuters: "The corridor will be very transparent, we will put cameras on the ships and there will be a broadcast to show that this is purely a humanitarian mission and has no military purpose."
Deputy UN spokesperson Farhan Haq said: "Safe navigation for merchant shipping was one of the benefits of the Black Sea Initiative, which we hope can resume."
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"The obligations of International Humanitarian Law on land and sea must be upheld."
Around 60 commercial ships have been stuck in Ukrainian ports since last year.
With Reuters inputs