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Bulgarian Formalities 2006

By doina — last modified Jun 27, 2006 09:53 AM

Published: 2006-06-27 09:53:57
Countries: Bulgaria

This is to update information as shown on Noonsite and in the cruising guide, “Cruise the Black Sea” by Doreen and Archie Annan. The version we have is 2001 and as far as I know, there has been no updated publication of this guide.

Visa requirements remain the same. They are not required in advance. Your passport is stamped upon entry at one of the three Ports of Entry. When you exit Bulgaria for a foreign port, your passport will be stamped out, again at one of the three Ports of Entry. Official Ports of entry are Bourgas, Varna, and Balchik. Passport should be valid for at least six months from the time of entry.

All “Port Control” monitors VHF 16 for traffic but they do not always respond. Bourgas and Balchik responded but nowhere else.

Weather Broadcasts from Varna Radio broadcast at 10:30, 16:30, 20:30, and assumable 04:30 local time on VHF 26. Istanbul Broadcasts at 10:00, 16:00, 22:00 local time on VHF 67 sometimes in English and always in Turkish. (Turkish, English or German) provides a good 3 day forecast for the Black Sea Regions. Navtex out of Odessa also covers the region. We have not tried to acquire weather fax broadcasts as of yet for the region.

The Harbour-master issues a Clearance document “Sailing Permission” on exit from Bulgaria to a foreign port. The fee for this document is 25 Euros for vessels under 12m (as per registration) and 50 Euros for vessels over 12m.

NO other fees are charged however, there is still confusion between the three ports on the requirement of having a “Temporary Navigation Certificate”. If you enter in Balchik the Harbour-master will issue a “Temporary Navigation Certificate” at a cost of 30 Euros, this is valid for the entire coast of Bulgaria. Neither Varna nor Bourgas use this system.

However, the harbour-master in Bourgas will keep your registration until you leave his port. He will clear you to the next port, be it a small harbour or another Port of Entry. He makes no charge for this clearance. In Varna, the Yacht Club manager will call and inform the officials that you are leaving, and where you are bound for again there is no charge.

We were never restricted in where we could go, however the local Passport Police in each town are obviously observant because the minute you dock or come ashore by dinghy they will ask to see your passport. They record you in their “little black book”, smile, and wish you a pleasant stay in Bulgaria. From all but the Ports of Entry, there was no clearing in or out. Port Control in the smaller harbours did not respond on VHF 16 and we mostly ignored them from then on.

Sue Antifaoff

S/Y Tala