A diesel fuel spill of more than 600 gallons at a port off San Cristobal Island poses a threat to the Galapagos archipelago, known as one of the most unique bio-diverse ecosystems on Earth.
A barge carrying large amounts of fuel sank after a crane collapsed while loading a container on the barge. San Cristobal is the easternmost island within the archipelago. Although none of the crew members were seriously hurt, the spilled fuel is a serious threat to the animals in the Galapagos’ ecosystem.
According to France 24, authorities in Ecuador described the spill as being ‘under control’, and emergency protocols to limit environmental risks have been activated.
Galapagos National Park (GNP) personnel stated that military personnel and environmentalists were ‘putting up containment barriers and absorbent cloths to reduce the environmental risk’ at The UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A statement from the presidential communications office reads: ‘The situation is under control, and a series of actions have been deployed to mitigate the possible effects.’
Galapagos Minister Norman Wray said of the incident: ‘’Approximately 600 gallons of diesel were in the Orca barge. It’s being handled in way to prevent a significant environmental impact. That stain is contained. The efforts to recuperate that diesel continue.’’
The Galapagos archipelago is home to various species found nowhere else on Earth, which includes small mammals such as rice rats, lava lizards, the flightless cormorant, giant turtles, sea lions and certain species of iguanas.
It also the location where Charles Darwin came to his ground breaking theory of evolution in 1835.
Back in 2001, a far more severe oil spill occurred when a ship rammed into a reef.
As a result, 150,000 gallons of oil spilled into the region and had a serious impact on the islands. The native iguana population declined by nearly 60%. This caused a Drop from 25,000 to 10,000 as a direct result of the accident.
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