Bulgaria’s transport minister accuses the owner of the stranded ship of sinking it


Bulgarian Transport Minister Hristo Alexiev has claimed that the Turkish owner of the Vera Su, the cargo ship that has been in operation since the 20th

This emerges from a statement by the Ministry of Transport on October 10, which became known after a series of meetings between Alexiev, officials of the Maritime Administration in Varna, representatives of a salvage company, the ship insurer and the cargo insurer.

The statement said that the rescue company Alexiev said it was ready to resolve the situation quickly, but has not yet received an order from the shipowner.

Smit Salvage and Multraship are among the best ship salvage companies in the world with excellent reputations, the statement said.

They told Alexiev that a combination of factors – the shipowner’s lack of adequate action to delegate the task and poor weather conditions – could cause an operation to rescue the ship to be delayed.

Alexiev said the crew was evacuated a few days ago while fuel and lubricant were drained, reducing the risk of spillage by 95 percent. He said that measures would be taken to unload the load of chemical fertilizer containing urea in an environmentally sound manner.

At the meetings, Alexiev also raised the issue of reimbursing the Bulgarian state for incurred and future expenses, the statement said.

“The cargo insurers shared their concern with the minister about the different signals from the shipowner sending different messages to different countries,” the statement said.

Alexiev said this could be interpreted as an artificial delay in the rescue of the ship in order to get insurance money.

“I will in no way tolerate such behavior towards the Bulgarian state,” he said.

“All interest groups work in full coordination to protect the interests of our country, to minimize the negative impact on the environment and to prevent attempts at insurance manipulation. The state will claim all costs and possible damage incurred in the operation, ”said Alexiev.

The Ministry of Transport said that the shipping authority, the salvage company and the insurers would review the current condition of the ship on October 11 and submit written proposals to Alexiev for further steps in the rescue operation.

After the inspection, transportation of the remaining hazardous materials such as residual fuel and batteries would begin with priority, the statement said.

As The Sofia Globe reported on October 8th, the Bulgarian public prosecutor has arrested the captain and the second officer of the Vera Su. The two are charged with the ship’s run-up, endangering life and the environment under the Criminal Code.

(Screenshots via BNT)

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