site.btaDay 57: Flotilla Admiral Boyan Mednikarov, Rector of Varna Naval Academy Says They Have Been Dreaming of an Operative Ship for Years
The availability of an operative ship to cover the practice of a naval educational institution is a key factor for the quality of the educational process there, Flotilla Admiral Boyan Mednikarov, Rector of the Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy (NVNA) in Varna (on the Black Sea), who is aboard RSV 421 for the 31st Bulgarian Antarctic expedition to Livingston Island, said in an interview for BTA. "We have been dreaming of such a ship for years," he added.
The owner of the vessel is the consortium "Bulgarian Antarctic Base St. Kliment Ohridski and scientific research ship", whose members are the Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy, Sofia University and the Bulgarian Antarctic Institute.
"Our partnership with the leading university in Bulgaria, Sofia University, and with a prestigious structure like the Bulgarian Antarctic Institute is really a huge opportunity. That is why we entered into this partnership without any hesitation," said Fleet Admiral Mednikarov.
"Our joint work began in October 2020, we have been together in this partnership for almost two and a half years. We have overcome many different challenges during this period. Challenges related to finding a ship, the necessary financial resources, acquiring the ship itself, and then repairing it. We have found the most appropriate approach to use limited financial resources. We have overcome challenges related to crew selection and especially filling out the core command staff. There were also challenges related to preparation to meet all the regulatory requirements of the Navy's guidance documents. The crew was extremely busy. Step by step we managed to overcome all this," he added.
"For many years we have dreamed of such a ship, for many years we have looked for various compensation mechanisms. At the NVNA, we have created one of the most advanced sets of simulators in the world, compensating to some extent for the lack of a training ship. In retrospect, we can say that at least two of our educational projects for the training of foreign personnel, mostly for the Navy, did not happen because we did not have our own training ship on which to organize the training of cadets", said Mednikarov.
"We are satisfied with the fact that we have Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii as a training ship and, of course, along with the logistical support of scientific research, we actively use the ship for training as well. I will point out the fact that in the first ten days of sailing, 23 cadets, together with three of their leaders, did a short-term practice. At the end of the voyage, from Cartagena to Varna, perhaps in a period of about 15 days, another 24 cadets will be in practice. Of course, we must also give due credit to the three graduates of the school (ed. note: cadet head of the school Rafael Kanev, cadet head of the school Nikola Lipchev and cadet head of the school Kristiyan Krasimirov) who are conducting a long-term sailing practice under the leadership of long-distance sailing captain Kiril Marinov, as well as with the help of the rest of the officers. Within four to five months, these three graduates will gain invaluable experience for practical work at sea," he explained.
Mednikarov added that in the summer of 2023 sailings with Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii will take place in the Black Sea near the Bulgarian coast. The goal is for all first- and second-year cadets at the NVNA to go through training on studying the Bulgarian sailing chart - i.e. to have a visual idea of all areas along the Bulgarian coast, to make sketches of typical capes, lighthouses, to learn the toponyms of the relevant sailing area and to practice the elements of ship service.
The head of NVNA also stressed that a so-called training bridge is currently being prepared in Varna - a container-type facility, which, after being equipped with the relevant navigation equipment, will be integrated with that of the ship, which will expand even more the opportunities for training cadets from the navigation field.
BTA's Daily News editor Konstantin Karagyozov is the only member of the media who is travelling on board the ship to Livingston Island and back and covering the Bulgarian expedition throughout its stay in Antarctica.
All media outlets can use the Bulgaria-Antarctica BTA's Log for free.