Spill Notification Point

Bulgarian Maritime Administration Directorate – Varna Control and Protection of the Marine Environment
Search & Rescue Department
5 Primorski bvd
Varna 9000

Tel: +359 52 684 954

Fax: +359 52 602 378


Bulgarian Maritime Administration Directorate “Maritime Administration”
Burgas Control and Protection of the Marine Environment Department
3 Kniaz Al. Batenberg str.
Bourgas 8000

Tel: +359 56 87 57 70

Fax: +359 56 602 378


Competent National Authority

Ministry of Transport, Inf. Tech. & Communications (for oil & HNS) Maritime Administration - Central Office – Sofia
9 Diakon Ignatiy St. 1000 Sofia

Tel: 359 2 930 0910 or 359 2 930 0950
Fax: 359 2 930 0920

Ministry of Environment and Waters
Ministry of Environment and Waters 22 Maria Louiza Blvd 1000 Sofia

Tel: 359 2 87 6151 or 359 2 843 4178 or 882 577/980 9975

Fax: 359 2 521 634

Response Arrangements

A Bulgarian National Oil Spill Emergency Contingency Plan was prepared by the Advisory Group of the Environment and Safety Aspects of Shipping, coordinated by the Emergency Response Activity Center in Varna.  The Plan was approved by the Minister of Transport in December 2001.

Under the NCP, the Permanent Commission for Protection of Population in Case of Natural Disasters and Significant Industrial Accidents to the Council of Ministers would analyse national-level readiness for preventing and mitigating the consequences of disasters and accidents, including oil pollution; it would activate and deactivate the NCP and take decisions for requesting international assistance.  The state agency Civil Defence would be responsible for on-shore response activities through the Coastal Emergency and Rescue Squadron (CERS).  The executive agency Maritime Administration, part of the Ministry of Transport, would organise and carry out oil spill response activities in the Bulgarian region of the Black Sea, conduct off-shore operations through the Marine Emergency and Rescue Squadron (MERS) and carry out activities for determining the source of pollution and sanctioning offenders if pollution is caused by navigation.  The Navy, part of the Ministry of Defence, would carry out air surveillance and provide additional communications.  The Regional Inspectorates on Environment and Waters, part of the Ministry of Environment and Waters (MOEW), would monitor the condition of the waters and give directions for mitigating the pollution and its consequences.  The shipowner may be required to assist with the organisation and funding of the response.  The NCP is routinely exercised.

Oil spill contingency plans exist for the Varna and Bourgas regions, which together cover the entire local municipalities who have jurisdiction for shoreline clean-up.

The Maritime Administration in Varna is host to the Emergency Response Activity Centre established as part of the Black Sea Convention. This is linked to other Black Sea nations to facilitate response to spills in the region and for training and R&D activities.

Response Policy

Containment and recovery is the favoured option for response at sea and manual/mechanical techniques for the shorelines. Dispersants are prohibited in waters with a depth of less than 25 metres, in areas without currents and at water temperatures under 10 °C. Permission for their use in other circumstances must be obtained from the Ministry of Environment and Waters.

Temporary and final disposal sites for recovered oil and oily debris would be determined by MOEW, local authorities and the Ministry of Health.


Stockpiles of response equipment are held by Marine Antipollution Enterprise Ltd. They hold booms, skimmers and a number of specialist oil and debris recovery vessels. About 40% of the equipment is held in Varna and 60% in Bourgas. The oil industry holds only short lengths of containment boom, and has access to vacuum trucks. There are no other specialist oil spill response contractors.

Bulgaria does not maintain any vessel or aircraft dispersant application capability nor does it hold any dispersant stockpiles.

Labour is readily available from municipalities and commercial contractors. Mechanical equipment - for earth movement and waste handling - and transport are locally available from both municipalities and building contractors.

Small vessels and tugs are available locally at the ports and several elderly barges and slop tankers are also operated. Aircraft for aerial surveillance is available from military sources.

Previous Spill Experience

The UNIREA (1982) spilt an unknown quantity of bunkers after exploding off Cape Kaliakra. Skimming vessels collected some oil, and dispersant was applied to other areas. The KRITI LAND (1987) spilt 40-100 tons of crude at the Druzba terminal, Bourgas. The majority of this was mechanically recovered but some impacted local coastlines.

Hazardous & Noxious Substances

Maritime Administration is the competent authority for dealing with marine pollution involving HNS.   Bulgaria’s capability for responding to HNS spills is very limited and mainly relies on the same resources as for oil pollution response. There are no special storage devices or storage arrangements in place for recovered HNS. Floating cranes and barges may be used for recovery and as a temporary storage of packaged goods.  The development of a policy regarding HNS marine pollution has been initiated and will, after a risk assessment, become part of the NCP.  A contingency plan for response to harmful substances other than oil has been initiated for the Black Sea.  Bulgaria has not been involved in any major marine accidents involving HNS, only a small incident has occurred, ODIN (2005, styrene) (Information from EMSA, 2008). 


Prevention & Safety

MARPOL Annexes

Spill Response



'69 '76 '92 '92Fund

* not yet in force 

Regional & Bilateral Agreements

  • Bucharest Convention, or the Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution, 1992 (with countries bordering the Black Sea).
  • Odessa Declaration, or the Ministerial Declaration on the Protection of the Black Sea, 1993 (with countries bordering the Black Sea).
  • Strategic Action Plan for the Rehabilitation and Protection of the Black Sea, 1996 (with countries bordering the Black Sea).
  • Sofia Declaration, 2002 – Declaration of the Ministers of Environment of the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution.

Date of issue: December 2011

Terms & Conditions

These Country & Territory Profiles are provided in good faith as a guide only and are based on information obtained from a variety of sources over a period of time.  This information is subject to change and should, in each case, be independently verified before reliance is placed on it. Country & Territory Profiles may have been re-issued solely to incorporate additional or revised information under one heading only.  Each Profile has therefore not necessarily been completely verified or updated as at the stated Date of Issue.

ITOPF Limited (“ITOPF”) hereby excludes, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, any and all liability to any person, corporation or other entity for any loss, damage or expense resulting from reliance on or use of these Country & Territory Profiles.

©ITOPF Limited 2018.

These Country & Territory Profiles may be reproduced by any means for non-commercial distribution without addition, deletion or amendment, provided an acknowledgement of the source is given and these Terms & Conditions are reproduced in full. 

These Country & Territory Profiles may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of ITOPF either for commercial distribution or with addition, deletion or amendment.