A boat carrying barrels of diesel fuel has sunk near one of Ecuador’s environmentally sensitive Galapagos Islands, officials say.
The spilled fuel left a “superficial” slick, but the damage was minor and no one was hurt, according to Ecuador’s environment ministry and state-owned oil company Petroecuador.
Saturday’s sinking was first reported by Petroecuador, which did not say how much fuel was spilled.
The Galapagos National Park has confirmed the sinking of its vessel, called the Albatroz, which a park official said was used for scuba diving excursions in the waters of the islands and carried 47 barrels of fuel.
Containment booms have been set up around the area in an attempt to control the spill, the company said. The national park has suspended tourist activities around the town of Puerto Ayora, where its headquarters are located.
The ship’s four crew members are safe and sound, Petroecuador said.
Located in the Pacific about 600 miles off the coast and famous for its giant tortoises, the Galapagos is a protected wildlife area and is home to unique species of flora and fauna.
The archipelago was made famous by Charles Darwin’s observations of evolution there. The Galapagos Marine Reserve, in which industrial fishing is prohibited, is the second largest in the world.
More than 2,900 marine species have been reported in the archipelago, which is a natural World Heritage Site.
In 2019, a barge carrying a small amount of diesel sank off another Galapagos island, San Cristobal, causing a small spill, but the damage was insignificant.
In 2001, an Ecuadorian-flagged ship carrying 240,000 gallons of fuel also sank off San Cristobal. This spill caused environmental damage that harmed several marine species.
With post wires
New York Post