Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey Forge Naval Alliance

Defense | January 22, 2024, Monday // 15:30|  views

@Ministry of Defense

The Mine Counter-measures Task Group Black Sea, formed through an agreement among Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey in January, is anticipated to achieve operational readiness by April or May, according to Admiral Emil Eftimov, Chief of Defence for Bulgaria. The task group aims to enhance maritime safety and minimize shipping risks in the Black Sea region.

During the opening of the Rescue at Sea Center at the Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy in Varna, Admiral Eftimov, accompanied by Defence Minister Todor Tagarev and Bulgarian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Kiril Mihaylov, shared insights into the developments. Notably, Turkey's ratification of the agreement is a crucial step for the task group to become fully operational.

Defence Minister Tagarev emphasized the inclusivity of the Task Group, expressing openness to the participation of other NATO allies. Operating in line with the Montreux Convention, the group will not deploy ships. Minister Tagarev underlined that the rotational command structure will contribute to effective coordination.

Rear Admiral Mihaylov highlighted that the Bulgarian Navy, despite receiving alerts, has not encountered real instances of floating sea mines this year. The Mine Counter-measures Task Group will play a vital role in addressing potential threats and enhancing maritime security in the Black Sea.

Admiral Eftimov also shed light on ongoing priorities, emphasizing the modernization of the Naval Base in Varna. With a project already in progress, the goal is to create suitable conditions for accommodating new Navy ships.

In addition to maritime developments, Defence Minister Tagarev provided insights into the Land Forces' modernization, outlining a structured financing timetable. Bulgaria has initiated the funding process, with the project set for completion by 2027 and vehicle delivery expected in mid-2028.

Looking ahead, Minister Tagarev discussed the upcoming NATO Steadfast Defender exercise, emphasizing its extensive scale and the involvement of troops from North America to Europe. Bulgaria's participation will primarily involve officers at NATO headquarters and computer-assisted activities. The minister clarified that Bulgarian troops will not be part of the anti-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden, with the focus on contributing officers at the operation's headquarters without a physical presence on the ground.

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Tags: Black Sea, mine, security, Naval


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