Marine Traffic
Weather and sea buletin

Coordinates 43°11'N 27°55'E.

Varna is located on the Black Sea coast of eastern Bulgaria, approximately 35 nmi south of the border between Bulgaria and Romania. The Port of Varna is located south of the city, on the west shore of Varna Bay (Varnenski Zaliv).
The topography near Varna is hilly, with several rises exceeding 1,000 ft (305 m) within 10 nmi of the port. The Balkan Mountain Range, with many elevations exceeding 3,000 ft (914 m), extends westward from a position approximately 40 nmi southwest of Varna.

General information

The Port of Varna consists of two main ports - Varna East and Varna West and a few smaller ports: Balchik, Lesport, Ferry complex, Varna Power Plant. Varna West is located 13 miles west of Varna East and they are connected by two canals and Varna Lake.
There are two primary anchorage areas in Varna Bay. A summer anchorage (from 1st of May untill 1st of October) is located approximately 3 nmi south of the entrance to the Port of Varna. A winter anchorage (from 1st of October untill 1st of May) is located approximately the same distance east-northeast of the entrance. The anchorage locations are selected to minimize the effects of the most commonly observed strong winds during each season. Holding is rated as good on a bottom of sand and shells in both locations. The anchorages are suitable for ships with large sail areas. If strong northeasterly winds makes anchorage hazardous in the primary anchorage areas, moving to a foul weather anchorage located west of Cape Kaliakra (Nos Kaliakra), approximately 26 nmi east-northeast of Varna, is recommended. Cape Kaliakra provides good protection against northeasterly waves.
Pilots are required for ships over 100 GWT. Pilots embark/debark at a whistle buoy located near 43°11'N 28°00'E, approximately 3.5 nmi east of Varna East. If weather is foul, like may occur in winter when high waves exist at the normal pilot boarding point, an inbound vessel would be told to follow the channel to the port. The pilot would board in the lee of the breakwater to take the ship to moorage in the harbor.

Local Weather Conditions

Because of the barrier created by the Carpathian Mountains, Transylvanian Alps and Balkan Mountains, there is no major opening for air flowing into the Black Sea from the west or southwest except the gap formed by the Dardenelles, Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus. The major topographical feature of the western edge of the Black Sea is the Danube Basin, approximately 60 nmi north of Varna.
The port authorities monitor weather forecasts and charts. Local forecasts are available in English on VHF radio. Ship crews should maintain a watch on Channel 16 (working channel) and then switch to Channels 24, 25, 26 or whatever other channel is suggested by Channel 16 to access the forecast information.
The biggest weather problem is posed by northeasterly winds, which occur approximately three or four times per month during December, January, February and March. A northeasterly wind event may last for two days. The strongest winds recorded at Varna East were 66 kt (34 m s-¹), with occurances in winter and early spring. Because of the protection afforded by Eastern Pier, problem wave motion does not reach the inner harbor.
Visibility at the Port of Varna is occasionally restricted due to fog. When occurring, fog is usually worst in the morning hours, improving by 10 am local time. Since navigation is prohibited in the Port of Varna if visibility reduces to less than 547 yd (500 m), the port is occasionally closed until the fog dissipates. The Black Sea Pilot states that coastal fog may be encountered in winter and spring, but rarely in summer. The incidence of fog is greatest in the northern areas of the Black Sea, with incidence decreasing markedly farther south.

Currents and Tides

Normal tidal fluctuation at the Port of Varna is negligible; the change from low to high is only about 2 in (5 cm). Local harbor authorities state that during winter, however, changes of as much as 3.3 ft (1 m) may occur 3 to 5 times per year. It is not known if the authorities were referring to seiches or extreme tidal fluctuations. The Black Sea Pilot states that seiches, which occur with little or no warning, can raise or lower the sea level by as much as 3.3 ft (1 m) over wide areas of the Black Sea. These changes may be the result of prolonged easterly or westerly.
The Black Sea Pilot states that currents in the Black Sea, which in general are weak and inconstant, consist of a main circulation setting counter-clockwise along its shores. Countercurrents occur between the main current and the shore in many places, including Varna. The strength and constancy of the counter-clockwise circulation is greatest after the melting of snow in late spring and early summer, when the discharge from rivers is greatest. In late summer and autumn, when the volume of water discharged by the rivers is relatively small, the circulation is generally weaker and more subject to wind-driven current variations.
VHF CH 14 ; Phone: (+359 52) 602 446/7/8; Fax: (+359 52) 602 445/6/7