NAVIBULGAR SAILING TO THE BLACK LIST
Navigation Maritime Bulgare (Navibulgar) risks to lose even more of its clients. Procedures for the privatisation of the company began in 2000. As the BANKER weekly learned, vessels sailing under Bulgarian flag are very much likely to be included in the so-called black list of countries, which signed the Paris Memorandum of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). As a result, they will be most frequently inspected by the port authorities in all European countries and Canada. That is what Marin Petrov, Head of the Marine Administration Executive Agency, is afraid of too. The present situation resulted from established violations on 20 Bulgarian ships, inspected by port authorities in the second half of 2001. Five of them were taken in charge. Other five were inspected twice and violations were found out even in the second revision. The Rodina, which was reported to have 22 irregularities, was detained for the longest period of time - 3 days.Lately, inspectors are believed to be detaining Bulgarian ships without a reason, just in order to destroy the competitive power of the our merchant fleet. Most of the 20 ships were inspected and arrested in Italy and Russia. Another possible explanation for the great number of sanctions is the fact that Bulgarian vessels are too old.Both statements may be true, but anyway the Bulgarian merchant fleet is definitely getting worse. In his first statement after he became Chairman of Navibulgar's Board of Directors, Slaveiko Staikov said that the major task, set by the Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications, was the fast financial stabilization of the company. It's an adequate task, but also one that is difficult to implement. Clients would not entrust their cargoes to a carrier, who risks permanent inspections once the Paris Memorandum official bulletin is published.However, Navibulgar's newly-appointed managers seem to know another method to achieve financial stabilization. They refused to meet one of the requirements of the collective employment agreement, which says that an increase in the lowest working salary in the country should be followed by an increase in the remuneration of Navibulgar's personnel. The Seamen Professional Union informed that Navibulgar's Executive Director Geno Genov had refused to raise salaries by 17 per cent. Meanwhile, this is the third consecutive Bulgarian Government which forgets about renovating the fleet, although the average age of Navibulgar's vessels is 30 years.