BTA News

Bulgarian Naval Research Vessel Aids Yacht in Distress near Drake Passage on New Year’s Eve

The Bulgarian naval research vessel Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii (NAVAL RSV 421) took part in an operation to assist the distressed yacht El Doblon near the Drake Passage on New Year’s Eve, Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy in Varna, on the Black Sea, reported on its Facebook page on January 1.

The events took place as follows:

0145 hrs: A Mayday distress signal was received on the VHF emergency radio channel.

0150 hrs: The Chilean Coast Guard called the same channel to request assistance on behalf of a vessel in distress. RSV 421 was placed on a higher state of alert.

The coordinates of the vessel in distress were soon received – about eight nautical miles away from the Bulgarian ship and 12 nautical miles south of Nueva Island near the Drake Passage.

RSV 421 immediately headed for El Doblon – a 25-metre yacht flying a Canadian flag with a 13-member crew.

Shortly after 2 a.m. RSV 421 was assigned as On Scene Commander by the Chilean Coast Guard in accordance with the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual.

0210 hrs: Communication with the vessel in distress was established. El Doblon reported that there was a breach in the forward keel section with incoming water.

0215 hrs: RSV 421 prepared a rescue speedboat with a crew of three, equipped with life-saving gear and thermal suits, as well as mooring lines for towing the distressed vessel.

Meanwhile, arrangements had been made on board the RSV 421 to provide first aid to people in distress.

At around 2.30 a.m. the Bulgarian ship began to converge with El Doblon, with the rescue speed boat ready to launch. At 2.50 a.m. RSV 421 was 0.4 nautical miles away from El Doblon, at which point El Doblon reported that the incoming water was stopped.

0258 hrs: The yacht was found to be listing hard to starboard and making 1.5 knots. The Bulgarian crew reported to the Chilean Coast Guard the condition of the yacht and commenced escorting her to the Beagle Channel and the port of Puerto Williams, Chile.

0405 hrs: The Bulgarian vessel was relieved of responsibility as On Scene Commander by the Chilean Coast Guard after entering calmer waters. RSV 421 proceeded to sail to Livingston Island as scheduled.

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During the 32nd Bulgarian expedition to Antarctica, which started on November 8, 2023, the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) is publishing interviews with Antarctic researchers. The Bulgaria-Antarctica BTA’s Log again provides coverage of the voyage of the Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii to Antarctica and back and its stay there, as it did during the 31st expedition between December 27, 2022 and May 2, 2023. Back then, only BTA had a correspondent, Daily News Editor Konstantin Karagyozov, who covered the 127-day expedition with text, video and photos during the entire voyage (including across the Atlantic in both directions) and throughout the stay in Antarctica. In June 2023, BTA published in Bulgarian and in English an issue of its LIK magazine “To Antarctica and Back under the Bulgarian Flag” dedicated to the historic expedition.

Again, all of BTA’s information on the Bulgarian scientific research in Antarctica and the support provided by the Bulgarian naval research vessel, as well as on the other activities at the Bulgarian Antarctic Base, will be available to all media outlets in Bulgarian and in English on BTA’s website in the Bulgaria – Antarctica: BTA’s Log section.

BTA has a National Press Club on board the ship and is planning to open a National Press Club at the Bulgarian Antarctic Base on Livingston Island.