International officials monitoring seaborne grain exports from war-torn Ukraine are preparing to carry out checks on the first ship sailing under a UN-backed safe-passage scheme.

The 29,300-dwt Razoni (built 1996) is to anchor at around midnight local time off Istanbul, where a Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) of Ukrainian, Russian, Turkish and UN officials is based.

After an inspection to ensure that the ship carries nothing but grain, the Razoni will continue on its way to Lebanon, rear admiral Ozcan Altunbulak, a Turkish JCC official, told reporters in a briefing in Istanbul on Tuesday.