Bulgaria’s coastline will be patrolled as of August 3 using four boats donated by the United States to the Bulgarian Navy, the US embassy in Sofia said.
Among other tasks, the 3 RHIBs (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats) and one patrol boat will help the Bulgarian Navy intercept drug and human traffickers.
On August 3, US ambassador Eric Rubin and Navy Commander Rear Admiral Mitko Pеtev celebrated the Bulgarian Navy sailors graduating from the Patrol Craft Officer Coastal Course, the embassy said.
The course, taught by instructors from the US Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School in Mississippi, certified the sailors to operate the new boats.
“Bulgaria is the first country in the Black Sea region to receive these force protection boats from the United States,” Rubin said.
“These boats, equipment and training, which amount to approximately $2 million, enhance not only Bulgarian maritime security and sovereignty, but also promote Black Sea and Nato collective security.
“Today’s increasingly complex challenges and threats in the maritime domain, from terrorism, piracy, weapons trafficking, to illegal migration all require a professional maritime force ready to respond and adapt to a multitude of scenarios. Today’s graduates will play an important role in enhancing Bulgaria’s readiness to address these challenges,” he said.
(Photos: US embassy Sofia and Bulgarian Defence Ministry)