Operation to drain tanks of oil spill shipwreck off Bulgaria’s Sozopol begins

The operation to drain heavy fuel oil from the wreck of US merchant vessel the Mopang off the coast of Sozopol on Bulgaria’s southern Black Sea began on September 3.

The Mopang went down in July 1921 after hitting a mine while en route from Bourgas to Istanbul. In recent weeks, there have been leaks of heavy fuel oil from the wreck.

The draining operation was beginning with the laying of specially-constructed six-ton concrete anchors around the shipwreck. These were to be moved underwater from Sarafovo to the Mopang.

Then, if time permits, the actual draining will start. Within a few days, the oil will be brought to the surface via a special mechanism that separates it from seawater.

About 10 divers are involved, working in two shifts. The surface team is about 30 people.

Mopang was recorded as having held 650 tons of heavy fuel oil. Diver and Black Sea shipwreck expert Mihail Zaimov, who in August first sound the alert about the leaks from the Mopang, said that the amount of oil that had been spilt was very limited and there was “nothing dangerous and dramatic”.

After news broke of the oil spill, floating barriers were put in place to contain it from spreading.



The Sofia Globe staff

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