site.btaBulgaria's Research/Survey Vessel "Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii" to Sail for Antarctica December 27
The first Bulgarian military research/survey vessel (RSV) Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii will sail from Varna for Antarctica on December 27, Prof. Christo Pimpirev, leader of the 31st Bulgarian Antarctic Expedition, said here on Wednesday.
He added that the members of the expedition will be implementing projects approved by the National Polar Research Programme: bottom sediment sampling around Livingston Island in the South Shetlands to check for pollution, exploring flora and fauna in the sediments and, onshore, further research into potential mineral deposits around the Bulgarian base. Pimpirev recalled that the presence of gold was discovered during the previous expedition and rare earth metals will be sought now.
The leader said that the 31st expedition is financed by the State and has also received a number of donations, ranging from 10 kg of honey from a beekeeper to two truckloads of food products from Kaufland Bulgaria.
The ship's commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Nikolay Danailov, said that the 26 crew include three cadets of the Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy in Varna. The voyage is expected to last four months, and the vessel will take 40 days to reach Livingston Island. The captain added that a doctor from the Military Medical Academy will be on board, and sufficient medical supplies have been procured. The Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii will see the New Year in in the Mediterranean.
The ship was repaired at the cost of some BGN 4.5 million, said the Rector of the Naval Academy, Flotilla Admiral Prof. Dr Boyan Mednikarov. He noted that the preparation of the expedition had a problem with the surge of fuel prices. Additional financing was provided, and some BGN 3 million will be spent on fuel, he added. The Naval Academy will have representatives during the forthcoming voyage, and they will share in the scientific research.
Apart from Antarctic expeditions, the ship will also be used for training of cadets, officers and pupils of the Burgas and Varna seafaring secondary schools, the Rector said. There are also plans to carry out research from the survey vessel in partnership with various institutes.
The procedure for the procurement of a research/survey ship was launched in February 2021. Bulgaria purchased the vessel from a Russian national. The ship is owned by a consortium consisting of the Naval Academy, the St Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia and the Bulgarian Antarctic Institute. The Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii was ceremoniously christened and commissioned into the Bulgarian Navy inventory on July 27, 2021.
Varna Mayor Ivan Portnih on Wednesday handed the leaders of the expedition the city flag, wishing them a successful and safe voyage.