Today, the Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications Hristo Alexiev held a series of meetings at the Maritime Administration - Varna in connection with resolving the situation around the trade ship Vera SU. The Minister met with representatives of the salvage company, the ship's insurer and the cargo insurer.
According to the Minister, "the shipowner deliberately does not take any adequate action to save the ship and its cargo and leads it to sinking, with the idea of receiving the revenues from the insurance". During the meeting with the representatives of the salvage company, the Minister was informed that the company was are ready and gave guarantees for a quick resolution of the situation, but so far they had not received an assignment from the Turkish shipowner.
SMIT Salvage and Multraship are among the best ship salvage operators in the world, with a very high reputation. According to them, the combination of factors - the lack of adequate action by the Turkish shipowner to place an order with a salvage company and the bad weather conditions, could lead to the postponement of the salvage operation of the ship.
Minister Hristo Alexiev informed them that at that moment the Bulgarian state had already taken measures to arrange the evacuation of the crew, which happened a few days before, measures to drain fuel and fuel and oil supply, which reduced to 95% the risk of spillage in the Black Sea and was currently taking action on the procedure for unloading urea in an environmentally sound manner.
Minister Hristo Alexiev also held meetings with all representatives of the insurance companies involved in the Vera SU case. Alexiev insisted on full coordination between the various stakeholders and timely information on the shipowner's formal position and plans to salvage the ship. The Minister raised the issue of full reimbursement of expenses incurred by the Bulgarian state so far and future ones. The cargo insurers shared with the Minister their concern over the divergent signals of the shipowner, who sent different messages to different countries. According to Minister Alexiev, this can be interpreted as an intended delay in the process of salvaging the ship in order to generate insurance revenues.
"I will not tolerate in any way such behavior towards the Bulgarian state. All stakeholders 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 incurred in the operation and possible damages".
On the following day, representatives of Maritime Administration Executive Agency, the salvage company and the insurers would inspect the current state of the ship and would submit written proposals to Minister Alexiev for further steps in the salvage operation. After the inspection, the transportation of the remaining hazardous materials - residual fuel, batteries, oil supplies, etc. would begin as a priority.