UPDATE 1-Three more ships leave Ukrainian ports under U.N.-brokered grain deal

·2 min read

(Adds details of ships leaving Black Sea ports)

ISTANBUL, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Three more ships with exports left Ukraine's Black Sea ports on Wednesday, a monitoring group said, bringing the number of vessels to leave Ukraine under a U.N.-brokered grain export deal to 24.

The Joint Coordination Centre (JCC), which also inspects vessels under the deal, said Sara, carrying 8,000 tonnes of corn, and Efe, carrying 7,250 tonnes of sunflower oil, both left Odesa port and were bound for Turkey.

Petrel S, which was loaded with 18,500 tonnes of sunflower meal, left the Chornomorsk port and was headed to Amsterdam, the Istanbul-based JCC said, adding that it had inspected four inbound ships on Wednesday.

Ukraine also expected five ships at its Chornomorsk port on Wednesday, the largest convoy to arrive in Ukrainian ports in a day so far since exports began on Aug. 1.

The deal, signed on July 22, unblocked grain, foodstuff and fertiliser exports that had been halted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine in late February.

The Brave Commander, the ship carrying the first cargo of food aid bound for Africa under the deal, transited Istanbul's Bosphorus Strait on Wednesday evening, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

The JCC said the Brave Commander and three other ships would be inspected on Thursday before they are approved to continue to their final destinations.

Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian and United Nations personnel work at the JCC.

Ukraine used to export by sea 5 million to 6 million tonnes of agricultural products monthly before the Russian invasion.

The government in Kyiv has said it hoped to increase the monthly volume of sea exports to 3 million tonnes in the near future in order to clear a backlog of 18 million tonnes of grains left over from last year's harvest and start selling new crops. (Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun and Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Tom Hogue and Grant McCool)