Satellite images show first ship out of Ukraine in Syria

Despite Damascus continuing to be a staunch ally of Moscow, the first cargo of grain to leave Ukraine under a wartime agreement appears to have ended up in Syria, according to satellite photographs analysed by The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The government in Kyiv hailed the cargo ship Razoni’s initial departure from the port of Odessa as a sign that Ukraine could safely export its barley, corn, sunflower oil, and wheat to a hungry world where food prices have risen in part due to the war. The ship’s arrival in Syria follows that praise

However, the fact that it arrived in the port of Tartus in Syria demonstrates how challenging and hazy global commerce and trade can be.

In the midst of Moscow’s conflict with Kiev, Syria has already received Ukrainian grain confiscated from Russian-occupied territory.

The Sierra Leone-flagged Razoni was spotted at port on Monday just before 11 a.m. in images from Planet Labs PBC that were analysed by the AP.

The ship was right adjacent to the port’s grain silos, which are essential for feeding the country with wheat.

According to the ship-tracking website Marine Traffic.Com, the Razoni’s Automatic Identification System tracker data indicates that it has been off since Friday, when it was just off the coast of Cyprus.

Although ships are intended to keep their AIS trackers on, they frequently turn them off in order to conceal their movements. Those travelling to Syrian ports do this frequently.

The colour, length, and width of the Razoni, as well as the four sizable white cranes on its deck, could all be seen in the satellite image.

Similar results were obtained by Samir Madani, co-founder of the oil-shipment website TankerTrackers.Com and a pro at identifying tankers from satellite photographs.

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