Transport Ministry: Unloading of cargo ship stranded on Bulgaria’s coast has begun

The carrying out of the rescue plan for the unloading of the chemical fertiliser cargo of the Vera Su, the vessel stranded on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast since September 20, has begun, the country’s Transport Ministry said on October 18.

Implementing the plan would take three to four days, the ministry said.

The Vera Su ran aground near Kamen Bryag on Bulgaria’s northern coast in circumstances still being investigated. The crew were evacuated on October 6 and the captain and second mate have been charged by Bulgarian prosecutors in connection with the stranding of the ship and the endangering of human life and the environment.

The October 18 statement by the Transport Ministry said that a further inspection of the vessel had been carried out of the ship, looking for new breaches of the hull. Additional anchors had been placed to further stabilise the ship, the statement said.

The implementation of the plan envisages the attachment of a barge with external hydraulics to the stranded ship, which will control the process of opening and closing the hold and the overall control of the vessel, according to the statement.

The liquefied urea will be pumped out, using the three barges provided by the European Maritime Safety Agency, and it will be transhipped to the specialist tanker Galaxy Eco. The dry urea will be transported to the Port of Varna-East, where it will be loaded on to Bulgarian state railways BDZ goods wagons.

The last step to be taken after unloading the cargo would be to take the ship in tow to a safe place, the statement said. Before this is done, the ship’s hull would be strengthened and reinforced, the ministry said.

Going by weather forecasts, the operation can be carried out safely in the next three to four days, working 24 hours a day, according to the statement.

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(Photo: Transport Ministry)

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