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Ship with Ukrainian corn and vegetable oil docks in Lebanon

Trucks being filled with Ukrainian corn from the ship AK Ambition, sailing under the flag of Panama at Tripoli seaport (Hassan Ammar/AP)
Trucks being filled with Ukrainian corn from the ship AK Ambition, sailing under the flag of Panama at Tripoli seaport (Hassan Ammar/AP)

A ship carrying thousands of tonnes of corn and vegetable oil from war-ravaged Ukraine has docked in northern Lebanon.

It is the first such vessel since Russia’s invasion of its neighbour started seven months ago.

AK Ambition, registered in Panama and loaded with 6,250 tonnes of corn and almost 18 tonnes of vegetable oil, arrived in the northern city of Tripoli, with Ukraine Embassy officials waiting at the port.

Last month, Razoni, carrying grain from Ukraine, was turned back and eventually docked in Syria, Russia’s ally, after the Lebanese importer refused to accept the shipment, allegedly because of a delay.

A worker holds corn from a truck that being filled with Ukrainian corn from the ship AK Ambition
A worker holds corn from a truck that being filled with Ukrainian corn from the ship AK Ambition (Hassan Ammar/AP)

Razoni was the first vessel to leave Ukraine for Lebanon after a wartime deal signed between the United Nations and several countries for the safe passage of ships carrying vital cargo.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Lebanon, Ihor Ostash, said AK Ambition’s arrival is part of a deal signed between Ukrainian and Lebanese companies to bring weekly shipments to Lebanon.

It comes at a time when the small Mediterranean nation is in desperate need amid an unprecedented economic meltdown.

Ukraine is one of the world’s major global grain suppliers but the war has blocked most exports.

This led world food prices to soar in a crisis, including in Lebanon.

An Ukrainian woman who lives in Lebanon waves the national Ukrainian flag as trucks are filled with Ukrainian corn at Tripoli seaport
An Ukrainian woman who lives in Lebanon waves the national Ukrainian flag as trucks are filled with Ukrainian corn at Tripoli seaport (Hassan Ammar/AP)

The Lebanese are heavily reliant on Ukraine grain products, which accounted for 60% of Lebanon’s supply.

In early August, a Syrian ship that Ukraine said was carrying stolen Ukrainian grain left Tripoli after officials in Lebanon allowed it to sail following an investigation.

The Syrian-flagged Laodicea had been anchored in Tripoli for days, with 8,929 tonnes of wheat flour and barley.

Moscow denied Ukraine’s claim of stolen grain.

Lebanon’s economic crisis has led to soaring inflation and shortages of food items, such as wheat.

Long bread queues recently plagued the country, where around two thirds of the population of six million, including one million Syrian refugees, now live in poverty.