Bulgaria seeks 1 mn dollars over oil slick

SOFIA -- An oil slick that polluted the Danube in Bulgaria originated in Serbian waters, according to Bulgarian authorities.

Bulgaria's environment minister Dzhevdet Chakarov said Bulgaria will seek close to one million dollars in compensation from Serbia. According to Sofia Weekly, Bulgaria plans to raise the issue of compensation in Vienna at the meeting of the Danube Environment Convention countries.

Chakarov told the media in Sofia that his country has circulated notes on the subject to all the countries along the river because of the frequent pollution Bulgaria suffers.

The Vienna meeting is scheduled for December 13.

Since Bulgaria claims that the pollution has already cost it around one million euros, it will seek compensation from Serbia in the same amount, Lyubka Kachakova, who will represent Bulgaria in the Vienna meeting told the press.

However, Chakarov added that since the 1994 convention does not clearly define mechanisms for its implementation, should the Serbian government decide not to pay the compensation voluntarily, Bulgaria will not be able to secure it otherwise.  

Earlier, AP reported that an oil slick, 55 kilometers long, entered the Bulgarian stretch of the Danube River on Wednesday.

"A small tanker had spilled over 3,000 tons of diesel fuel into the river near the Serbian port of Prahovo," Bulgaria's Environment Ministry said in a statement.

The tanker allegedly spilled the fuel to conceal a smuggling attempt, according to the information provided by Serbian authorities following an official inquiry by Sofia about the origins of the slick, AP reports.