Fuel being drained from ship stranded at Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast

An operation began on October 3 to drain fuel from the vessel Vera Su, which has been stranded near Kamen Bryag on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast after running aground on September 20.

Bulgarian prosecutors have begun an investigation into what led to the stranding of the vessel, which is Panamanian-flagged, owned by a Turkish company and has a crew of nine.

At a briefing on October 3, Bulgaria’s caretaker Transport Minister Hristo Alexiev that it was important that the Vera Su’s cargo was removed safely. The ship was carrying 3000 tons of urea.

Reports on October 2 quoted Alexiev as saying that the ship had begun sinking after water got into its hold.

On October 3, Alexiev said that there were three main tasks for the day – a new inspection of the ship by divers, draining fuel to prevent spillage and taking members of the crew to be interviewed by prosecutors.

Part of the fuel will be left in the vessel to enable power supply.

In the next two to three days, additional barges are expected to assist in unloading the cargo.

Bulgaria’s Environment Ministry said that samples of coastal waters were being taken every hour. The values were stable, compared to September 25, when a cargo transfer operation failed and part of the cargo of fertiliser fell into the sea.

Bulgarian National Radio quoted Borislav Sandov, co-leader of the conservationist Green party, as saying that the situation with the stranded ship was worse than that stated by the authorities.

In a Facebook post, Sandov said that the ship’s cargo might not be dangerous, according to “some classifications”, but the cargo was still very harmful to the marine environment and local business connected to the Black Sea.

(Photos: Bulgaria’s Transport Ministry)

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