Bulgarian Institutions Clash in Safety Assessment of Ammo CoDefense | June 6, 2012, Wednesday // 17:14| views
A photo by BGNES shows the explosion at a privately-owned ammunition depot near the Petolachkata road junction close to Sliven in Southeastern Bulgaria that occurred Tuesday afternoon.
A total of five safety probes have been conducted at the Bereta Trading company, owner of Bulgaria's blasted ammunition depot, according to the Interior Ministry.
The information was reported for the media Wednesday by the Head of the "Control of Common Dangerous Resources" at the Ministry, Commissar, Bozhidar Vasilev, saying checks of the Regional Inspectorate for Preservation and Control of Public Health, of the Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Waters, and of the Labor Inspectorate have not revealed any violations.
On Tuesday, a series of blasts occurred at a private-owned ammo site near the Petolachkata road junction close to Sliven, injuring at least 9 people, two of them critically. Three of the ammunition depot's employees are still missing.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister, Anyu Angelov, told the Members of the Parliament that in addition to the allowed utilization of ammo activities, the depot housed a large amount of other ammunitions, which was a blatant violation. Another violation, noted by Angelov, is the fact that only 3 workers have been inside the facility, instead of the required 5. The other 2 were outdoors, on the terrace, and they were taken away by the blast.
"All this speaks volumes about violations in the technological procedure on which the workers had been instructed, if they were indeed instructed," the Minister pointed out, adding the fact that cell phones were found at the location of the explosions is another proof that safety procedures have not been followed.
Deputy Defense Minister, Valentin Radev, on his part, also voiced suspicions in the safety measures at the depot, stressing much larger quantities of ammo have been processed daily than the permissible ones.
According to Vasilev, since the signing of the contract Bereta Trading had utilized 329 metric tons of ammunitions. He announced earlier Wednesday that the contract had been actually awarded to Military Productions, a Bereta Trading subsidiary.
Eight companies have ammo utilization permits for Bulgaria, but just 4 practice the destruction of ammunition. These eight companies have 12 warehouses throughout the country. There are a total of 98 depots for storing ammunition.
Also earlier in the day, the manager of Bereta Trading, Delislav Delev, declared his company has been on the ammo utilization market for 10 years already and never had a similar incident happening. He informed that all paperwork about the activities of the company has been made available to the National Investigative Services as early as the first explosions occurred.
According to Delev, the safety level at the firm is the highest possible and corresponds to all required norms. He noted that Bereta Trading has two European certificates for quality and preservation of the environment, while just 2 weeks ago it has been inspected by European auditors.