The cargo ship Vera Su, stranded on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast on September 20, was towed to the port of Varna during a long night operation ending on October 26.
Acting Transport Minister Hristo Alexiev told a briefing in Varna that following the talks, insurers would cover the costs incurred by the state. These costs were being calculated, he said.
The Vera Su was towed by tugs to Varna after the last of her flooded cargo was removed from the ship, in an operation which was repeatedly complicated by difficult weather conditions.
According to the Acting Minister of the Environment Assen Lichev, the unloading of the cargo meant that the risk of pollution of seawater in the protected area of Yailata had been eliminated, and with it the risk to health and means of subsistence of the inhabitants of the region.
Alexiev lamented the fact that Bulgaria is the only maritime country that does not have a ship and rescue equipment. “We had to do a scrap metal rescue mission,” he said.
“We managed to save the crew, save lives in this complex and bad weather operation, unload the ship and protect the environment, human health and livelihoods,” said Alexiev.
He said the ship was rescued even though the owner – according to him – wanted the opposite, for the ship to sink.
Bulgaria was not prepared for such an operation, he said.
“While we were planning, we had to fix some equipment that was in a bad state. Discussions have taken place with companies who have stated that in these extreme weather conditions and at this time of year they will not undertake the operation, ”said Alexiev.
He thanked those who worked the whole operation – 36 hours, 48 hours, in several shifts.
Lichev thanked all participants of the rescue team.
His ministry quoted him as saying that the rescue team executed a complex nine-step plan, with surgical precision, and evaporated the charges against the state and the maritime community.
Such an operation in the dark part of the day could be carried out by few people in the world, said Lichev, who ordered the compilation of a list of participants in the recovery operation to be named in honor of the State.
The captain and mate of the Vera Su are in police custody and face charges under the Penal Code in connection with the grounding of the vessel, endangering human life and the environment.
(Screenshot via Radio Varna’s Facebook page)
Please support independent journalism by clicking the orange button below. For as little as three euros per month or the equivalent in other currencies, you can support The Sofia Globe through patreon.com: