ISTANBUL Reuters -- Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said there were plans for three ships to leave Ukrainian ports on Friday under the deal to unblock the country's grain exports.
A first vessel carrying Ukrainian grain set sail from the port of Odesa on Monday, arriving at the Bosphorus Strait about 36 hours later under a deal between Russia and Ukraine, which was brokered by Turkey and the United Nations, aiming to ease a global food crisis stemming from the war.
Akar had held talks with Ukraine's defence and infrastructure ministers to discuss the situation around grain deliveries, which was organized by the Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul.
Three ships are planned to start sailing from Ukrainian ports tomorrow as part of the grain shipments, according to Akar, who was quoted as saying in the statement. It didn't specify which ports were involved.
He said that an empty ship was expected to go to Ukraine after being inspected in Istanbul, but he did not identify the vessel.
A spokesman for the regional administration of Odesa said late on Wednesday a Turkish bulk carrier was expected to arrive in Ukraine's Chornomorsk port on Friday, making it the first ships to arrive at a Ukrainian port during Russia's invasion.
He identified the bulk carrier as Osprey S, flying the flag of Liberia.
According to a Reuters journalist, Osprey S was anchored in the Sea of Marmara, about 1 kilometre 0.62 mile off Istanbul's Asian coast, along with other ships waiting to cross the Bosphorus in the Black Sea.