"The cargo ship Vera Su, which flies the Panamanian flag and has a Turkish
crew, crashed and ran aground on the high rocky Bulgarian coast a few
kilometres from the Kaliakra Nature Reserve on 20 September. If Bulgarian
authorities fail to transfer the cargo to land, the more than 3,000 tons of
urea on board could threaten to turn this part of the Black Sea – one of
Europe’s most important natural habitats – into a dead zone.
Urea is used as fertiliser in agriculture, but once it comes into contact with
seawater, it causes a rapid flowering of phytoplankton, which emit toxins for
marine life. Experts have warned that this would destroy the rich marine
habitats of dolphins, Black Sea sharks, other marine species, and the birds in
this part of the protected Pontic steppes.
For six days after the accident, the Bulgarian authorities did not take any
action to save the ship, although the weather was right for a rescue operation.
Eight days after the crash, authorities sent rescue vessels with unsuitable
equipment for unloading urea, which began to spill into the sea. The operation
was terminated by order of the environment minister.
The impasse with the stranded ship Vera Su and the subsequent pollution of the
sea led to the dismissal of the head of the Bulgarian Maritime Administration,
Via Glyn Moody, who wrote "shame on bulgaria"
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics