Presented with IMRF The Vladimir Maksimov Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Maritime SAR Sector
Captain Nikifor Guerchev was recognised for his lifelong contribution to national safety at sea.
He joined the maritime section of the Governmental Voluntary Organisation aged just 14.
He joined the Navy, completing a post graduate qualification in marine radar and radio communications systems.
He was released from the Navy for political reasons, but in 1996 following political changes, was promoted to lieutenant captain of the reserve, for his modernisation of naval communication systems and social support.
In intervening years, he was the navigating officer of a SAR and SALVAGE vessel; becoming master on merchant vessels, the technical fleet and ocean fishing vessels.
In 1994, he founded BULSAR, the Bulgarian National Volunteers Maritime Safety Society and is currently its Chairman.
With extensive experience and knowledge of complex marine wreck removal work, submerged technical and divers’ emergency operations, he has been personally involved in more than 25 major marine disasters along the Bulgarian sea coast and the Danube.
Many of the rescues have been extremely complicated and difficult and its estimated that he has directly and indirectly contributed to the saving over 250 human lives in different accidents and calamities at sea.
He has initiated and organised international drills, contributed towards the purchase and installation of the first two space communication terminals in the Inmarsat system for the Bulgarian Navy, and he initiated and organised NAVTEX in the Black sea countries.
Captain Guerchev has helped shape modern legislation for SAR, salvage, and wreck removal and has contributed to numerous publications and papers on maritime safety and safety culture, SAR, salvage and wreck removal.