site.btaBulgarian Naval Research Vessel Sets Sail on Annual Antarctic Expedition, Second Mission to Frozen Continent
The Bulgarian naval research vessel Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii (RSV 421) set sail for the Bulgarian Antarctic Base on Livingston Island from the Black Sea port of Varna on Wednesday, starting the 32nd Bulgarian Antarctic Expedition and RSV 421’s second mission to the frozen continent.
BTA's Daily News editor Konstantin Karagyozov was the only member of the media who travelled on board the ship to Livingston Island and back and covered the Bulgarian expedition on site throughout its stay in Antarctica during last year’s expedition, which ended on May 2 after a 127-day voyage.
The ship's main task on this voyage is to transport the construction materials for the Bulgarian polar researchers' new modern laboratory, BTA learned from the head of the Naval Academy, Flotilla Admiral Boyan Mednikarov. Thanks to RSV 421, the researchers will have the opportunity to conduct studies not only on Livingston Island but also on Smith Island, which is also part of the South Shetland Islands archipelago.
Cadets of the Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy in Varna are participating in the voyage. Four of the cadets are members of the ship crew, which totals 34 servicepersons who will travel all the way to the icy continent and back. The four (three boys and a girl) are in their fourth year of studies at the Naval Academy. They have the habits and the skills necessary to contribute actively to the work of the crew, said the vessel's Commanding Officer Nikolay Danailov.
Another 28 cadets of the Naval Academy are also on board. They will travel only to Cartagena, Spain. After they carry out their task there, a Bulgarian Air Force plane will fly them home.
At the departure ceremony, Danailov said he is glad that the preparations for the expedition were carried out to their full extent and the crew is able to perform its tasks. He said: "We performed a number of sailing missions in the Black Sea with cadets on board. We will be working for the achievement of the national goal of building a new laboratory block for the Bulgarian polar scientists and expanding the horizon for scientific research beyond Livingston Island, to the South Shetland Islands. Our appetite continues to grow, and we are eyeing the Antarctic Peninsula."
RSV 421’s second mission is to consolidate crew’s reputation, Bulgarian Navy Commander says
Bulgarian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Kiril Mihaylov, who attended RSV 421’s departure from Varna Port, addressed the crew during a solemn ceremony.
"You have already made the name of the naval research vessel Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii go down in history, but the second mission is just as important because now you have to consolidate the prestige, the reputation and the name you have built", Mihaylov said.
The ceremony was also attended by Varna Regional Governor Andriyana Andreeva, Prof Hristo Pimpirev - head of the Bulgarian Antarctic Institute, newly-elected Varna Mayor Blagomir Kotsev and Kotsev’s predecessor Ivan Portnih.
Mihaylov expressed his confidence that the hard work and motivation of each crew member will contribute to the success of the second mission. He assured the sailors that they can always count on the support of the Navy.
Mihaylov presented Pimpirev with а Bulgarian naval jack and voiced hope that it will find a place in the Bulgarian Antarctic base. The Bulgarian Navy Commander said that the gift is a sign that navy sailors are always ready to support the Antarctic explorers.
Admiral Mednikarov: Crew, ship safety among main criteria for expedition’s success
The main criteria for the success of the 32nd Antarctic expedition are the safety of the crew, the safety of the ship and the successful implementation of the tasks related to logistics and research, Naval Academy Rector Adrmiral Boyan Mednikarov said in his address to the crew. Mednikarov said that the training of the crew, the repairs and the new equipment assure him that all tasks set for the 32nd Antarctic expedition will be completed. In the end he wished the crew fair winds and successful crossing of the Atlantic and the Drake Passage.
Bulgarian Antarctic researchers make important discoveries for the world
Bulgaria's annual expeditions to Antarctica are not just a way to satisfy somebody's scientific curiosity, they make discoveries which are important to the world, Bulgarian Antarctic Institute President Christo Pimpirev said on Wednesday, interviewed by BTA. He spoke to the national news agency minutes before RSV 421 set sail for the Bulgarian Antarctic Base on Livingston Island.
Pimpirev said one of the main tasks of RSV 421 is to transport successfully the structural components of a new, cutting-edge scientific laboratory which will be assembled at the Bulgarian Antarctic Base.
He went on to note: "This expedition will continue the implementation of our research programme, which will be expanded with oceanological exploration from the ship. At least 20 scientists will be working on 10 projects. One of the projects is multidisciplinary. For the first time, biologists and geologists will conduct parallel studies of ocean floor sediment around the Bulgarian Base and microorganisms and invertebrates living in the slime and the water."
Pimpirev explained that these are endemic species which are used to living at water temperatures ranging from minus 1 C to plus 1 C throughout the year. They produce specific enzymes which can be used to make new medicines.