Inspectors OK 1st Ukraine grain ship but no sign yet of more

The Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni sails under Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge after being inspected by Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and U.N. officials at the entrance of the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul, Turkey, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022. Razoni, loaded up with 26,000 tons of corn, is the first cargo ship to leave Ukraine since the Russian invasion, and set sail from Odesa on Monday, August 1, 2022. Its final destination is Lebanon. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

ISTANBUL (AP) - The first grain ship to leave Ukraine and cross the Black Sea under a wartime deal passed inspection Wednesday in Istanbul and headed on to Lebanon. Ukraine said 17 other vessels were "loaded and waiting permission to leave," but there was no word yet on when they could depart.

A joint civilian inspection team spent three hours checking the cargo and crew of the Sierra Leone-flagged ship Razoni, which left Odesa on Monday carrying Ukrainian corn, a U.N. statement said.

The Joint Coordination Center team included officials from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, who signed deals last month to create safe Black Sea shipping corridors to export Ukraine's desperately needed agricultural products as Russia's war upon its neighbor grinds on.

Ukraine is a major global grain supplier but the war had blocked most exports, so the July 22 deal aimed to ease food security around the globe.