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.

My Way in the Sea

When Captain Guerchev heard that he was a Lifetime Achievement Finalist of the IMRF Awards 2018, he e-mailed us a poem (in English and Bulgarian) he wrote in 1997 as a sign of his thankfulness and happiness. Below his poem published - with permission of Captain Guerchev - in the hope you will enjoy it as much as we did.

My Way in the Sea   Моят житейски фарватер


And I as the compass arrow
in the sea, searched the real North.
Zephyr* and Noot* were fond of me, but with the cold-the arrows of Borey*and Ever*.

The Sea! It was the first love
I loved it, I lived in it, I suffered,
and possessed by his mighty call,
with waves I was up and down.

I fell asleep at his shore,
I was awakened by a splash of splashing.
Whirling gulls were listening
and a whisper of waves with the breath of algae.

Then I still believed in miracles,
after that I saw the great delusion
we've maintained a course with doomed oars and the ship in the mirage swam.

There was darkness, the sea breeze
thrust with chopped geeks
I was a hopeful one,
that the real breeze will really blow.

Before it blows, it will cloud
and the horizon I know - will frown,
will be raining, it will start to rain
and all the chips will wipe out.

Here I was! In my time,
when the Shipping stepped on its feet,
when to the native, enchanting shores
the magnetic compasses were back!

Nick Guerchev – 1997

* The mythical names of the directions of the winds.



И аз като стрелката на компас
в морето дирех истинския север.
Зефир* и Нот* ме милваха в захлас,
а с хлад - стрелите на Борей* и Евер*.

Морето! Беше първата любов
обичах го, живях сред него, страдах,
и обладан от властния му зов,
с вълни се извисявах и пропадах.

Заспивах на Брегът му отмалял,
събуждах се омаян от солени пръски.
Цвърчащи чайки слушах онемял
и шепот на вълни със дъх на водорасли.

Тогаз все още вярвах в чудеса,
след туй прозрях великата заблуда
поддържали сме курс с обречени весла
и корабът в миражите заплува.

Настъпи мрак, морето залиня
затлачи се с наконтени отрепки
Остана ми надеждичка една,
че истинския бриз наистина ще духне.

Преди да духне, ще заоблачи
а хоризонта знам - ще се намръщи,
ще затрещи, ще почне да вали
и всичките буклуци ще избърши.

До тук бях аз! По мое време бе,
когато Флотът стъпи на нозе си, кога към родните, омайни брегове ме връщаха магнитните компаси!

Ники Герчев - 1997

* Митичните имена на веровете по четирите посоки на света.

IMRF Awards 2018 - Media Gallery

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