THE BLACK SEA REGION: SECRETS AND BETS
A little before the Bulgarian research vessel Academic set sail to a regular scientific expedition, scare stories were circulated in mass media that Americans on board were going in quest of Noah's ark in the Black Sea. The former director of the National Museum of History Bozhidar Dimitrov said he could bet the American Dr. Robert Bullard a USD1MN that he was not going to find Noah's ark. The American, on his part, replied he was not at all searching for that biblical miracle. At last it became known that Dr. Bullard has been looking for wreckages of old wooden vessels and remains of ancient civilizations since 1989. Francesco Torre, Head of the Italian Oceanographic Institute, had to sent his representative to the present expedition, but guest voyage was frustrated. The Italian Oceanographic Institute is presently the only institution in the Black Sea and Aegen region, which examines such problems. In order to break the Italians' hegemony, in 1999 Austrians proposed to Bulgaria to establish an international laboratory for archeological reasearch based in Varna. They were ready to finance the undertaking, but the project was brought to naught by bureaucratic hindrances and unwillingness to admit foreigners into such activities.
Lethargy and lack of a clear outlook for concrete future action explain the rumours that are currently circulating in Varna, and have already reached Sofia as well. Some say that Dr. Bullard, i.e. the Americans, would be prospecing for petrol and gas in the Balck Sea shelf. According to others, the expedition's aim was to scan sunk pirate vessels with untold riches on board, that would be enough to pay Bulgaria's foreign debt. And heaps of such idiocies.