The New York TimesThe New York Times

Past drones and sea mines, a merchant ship's perilous journey in Ukraine

By Jenny Gross and Valerie Hopkins

29 Aug 2023 · 4 min read

informed Summary

  1. The withdrawal of Russia from an agreement that allowed the safe passage of grain shipments from Ukraine's Black Sea ports has led to commercial vessels increasingly relying on Ukraine's smaller ports on the Danube River.

For five weeks, almost everything seemed to go wrong for a commercial vessel waiting in the Danube River to load Ukrainian grain bound for Spain via the Black Sea.

First, Russian drones exploded mere miles away from where the vessel was anchored. Then, heavy congestion on the river led to weeks of delays, costing the vessel’s operator $8,000 a day in extra running costs. Finally, around midnight after its cargo of more than 12,000 metric tons of grain had finally been loaded, Russian drones hit grain warehouses in an hourlong raid at the port the vessel had just left.

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