"The Situation is Critical." The Ship Vera SU is Sinking, Announced Bulgarian Minister of Transport
Water invades the ship Vera SU, stranded near the protected area Yailata in Bulgaria. This became clear on Saturday at an extraordinary briefing of the Ministers of Transport and Ecology Hristo Alexiev and Asen Lichev.
The vessel, which has been stranded near Yaylata for 13 days, has shifted and approached the shore.
The ship is sinking, the Minister of Transport announced. In Alexiev's words, "the preservation of human life is a priority." The crew has not yet agreed to be evacuated, but the minister said "the state is ready". This will happen when the ship's captain expresses a desire to evacuate.
According to Alexiev, the rescue operation is very difficult due to the bad weather with sea waves over 4 points. Another factor is the location: “we can't bring in heavy equipment because it's a protected area. There have been very high waves in recent days, and due to the strong wind, an air operation is also risky," the minister said about the situation.
Asked whether the country was late in taking action, Alexiev said Bulgaria was not a pirate country and had acted in the most adequate manner in line with international law.
According to European norms, the cargo on board the Vera SU is not categorized as dangerous and therefore Bulgaria cannot take action such as "detention and seizure of cargo" because they would be defined as pirated.
Alexiev and his colleague Asen Lichev told the media that the transported cargo - about 3300 tons of carbide (urea) does not pose a danger to the environment. According to them, this became clear after receiving a letter from the European Maritime Safety Agency.
A few days ago, when parts of the cargo were spilled into the sea, the data of the Black Sea Region Basin Directorate showed pollution four times above the norm.
Vera SU crashed into the rocks of the Yailata Reserve near Kamen Bryag around 4 am on September 20. The ship is under the Panamanian flag and traveled from Ukraine to Varna with 3,300 tons of nitrogen fertilizers on board.
Rescue operations have been delayed by a week to clarify who should tow the ship.
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