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Shipowners and insurers are reacting with caution to Friday’s news of a deal hammered out between Russia and Ukraine, assisted by Turkey and the United Nations, to ship Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea for the first time in six months since war began.

Within less than 24 hours of the agreement being sealed, Russia had struck facilities at Ukraine’s top port, Odesa, adding to concerns about the many sea mines dotted around the Black Sea.

A joint co-ordination centre staffed by members of the four parties to the agreement is to monitor ships passing the Black Sea to Turkey’s Bosporus Strait and on to world markets.

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