VIDEO | Black Sea ‘faces ecological catastrophe’ after ship carrying urea runs aground in Bulgaria

A cargo ship transporting 3,000 tons of urea which ran aground on a rocky part of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast last week could threaten wildlife in the sea if the cargo isn’t transported inland.

Kaliakra Nature Reserve

The Vera Su flying under a Panamanian flag with a Turkish crew, crashed and ran aground on September 20. It is a few kilometers from the Kaliakra Nature Reserve, Euractiv reported.

However, Bulgarian authorities have not yet transported the chemical used in fertilizer inland and it threatens to seriously pollute the area, the publication said.

Once urea comes into contact with seawater, it causes a rapid flowering of phytoplankton, which emit toxins for marine life.

Marine habitats

Experts have warned that this would poison the marine habitats for dolphins, Black Sea sharks, and birds in this part of the protected Pontic steppes.

The report said Bulgarian authorities sent rescue vessels “with unsuitable equipment for unloading urea, which began to spill into the sea,” eight days after the incident.

The head of the Bulgarian Maritime Administration, Zhivko Petrov was dismissed over the impasse with the stranded ship and spill.


He was quoted as saying he didn’t think the urea would leak when the ship was unloaded and claimed that “this load was not so poisonous”.

“I have identified a serious inadequacy on the part of the agency,” Transport Minister Hristo Alexiev was quoted as saying when he dismissed him.

The government has set up a crisis headquarters to work in a coordinated manner to retrieve the shipwreck.

Bad weather

The nine-member crew remain on board. The Navy hopes to secure the shop with large anchors to prevent it from being destroyed in the bad weather.

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