Bulgarian Frigate Inspects 1st Vessel Off Libya's Coast

Defense | May 26, 2011, Thursday // 15:39|  views

Pictured: recharging of the Bulgarian Navy frigate Drazki at sea during Operation United Protector. Photo by Defense Ministry

Bulgaria's frigate "Drazki" has inspected its first vessel off the coast of Libya several days before its participation in the NATO naval operation United Protector is due to expire.

Bulgaria's Defense Minister Anyu Angelov announced Thursday that the command of the NATO operation selected the Bulgarian frigate for the search, picking between it and another frigate.

Drazki joined the NATO mission to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya, where dictator Muammar Gaddafi is fighting a popular insurgency and is facing NATO air strikes, on April 27, 2011, as Bulgraia's contribution to the NATO effort.

The Bulgarian frigate's patrol mission expires on May 31, and it is expected in Port Burgas on June 4, 2011.

Last week, the Bulgarian Navy frigate Drazki started its second patrol of the Libyan coast within NATO's United Protector operation to enforce a UN arms embargo after completing a midterm break on Crete.

During their first patrol, which ended on May 12, 2011, the Bulgarian naval vessel carried out tasks such as following the air surveillance and monitoring the sea transport with readiness to carry out inspections.

The Drazki frigate has interrogated the crews of a total of 46 vessels – fishing and container ships. During the first phase of the patrolling, the vessel was twice recharged with fuel at sea, the Defense Ministry announced. The five-day midterm break on Crete was used to get fresh food and fuel supplies.

Since the start of its participation in the NATO United Protector operation, the Bulgarian frigate has sailed the distance of 4 350 nautical miles.

During the first patrol, the naval vessels in the tactical group, of which the Bulgarian frigate is part, interrogated over 900 vessels, and boarded 40 of them. Five of those were diverted to different ports in accordance with the UN resolution imposing an embargo on strategic supplies.

The mission, which is Bulgaria's only military contribution to the NATO efforts against the regime of dictator Muammar Gaddafi, will cost the state budget about BGN 1.5 M.

The frigate is manned by a 160-member crew who will receive bonuses of EUR 51-53 per day for the duration of the mission.

The Bulgarian government has approved sending the frigate for three months to the Mediterranean Sea to take part in the NATO operation, but it will not stay there during the whole period. The length of stay of each ship in the Mediterranean is one month in general before rotation is done.

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Tags: NATO, Libya, operations, embargo, weapons, frigate, Drazki, Bulgarian Navy, Drazki frigate, United Protector, Pancho Panchev, Crete


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