Bulgaria warns of mines drifting in the Black Sea from Ukraine

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Sofia, 21 Mar The Bulgarian Government has warned of the presence of explosive mines drifting in the Black Sea, which have been washed away from the Ukrainian port city of Odessa and which put maritime traffic at risk throughout the area. As Sofia announced in a statement, the explosive ordnance “has been washed away by a storm and is floating in the Black Sea, and poses a threat to all ships.” The mines come from the coast of Odessa, Ukraine's main port in that sea, and some experts believe they are part of the defensive device put in place to prevent a landing of Russian forces. Experts from the Naval Military Academy in Varna have told Efe that mines could reach Bulgarian territorial waters in about ten days. The Government has assured that both the Navy and the civilian authorities are implementing extraordinary surveillance measures and are prepared to neutralize the devices. “Residents near the banks are asked to alert emergency telephone number 112 if they discover suspicious spherical objects in the water or on the coast,” the statement added. Crews of commercial ships in the area have been alerted to monitor the sea with the utmost care and immediately inform the coastal authorities if they notice any suspicious objects in the water. Naval mines drift floating on the surface if the cable with which they are anchored breaks. CHIEF vp-as/jac