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May 15, 2014
Although the major environmental risk has been mitigated, actions are focused on salvaging the fragile vessel and removing it from the area.
Following the stranding of the Galapaface I cargo ship last week, the Emergency Operations Committee (part of the Ministry of Environment, via the Galapagos National Park) requested that National Secretariat for Risk María del Pilar Cornejo declare a State of Emergency in the Galapagos Islands in light of the critical condition of the ship.
Although the major environmental risk was overcome thanks to the evacuation of 19,000 gallons of diesel fuel from the ship’s storage tanks, the Environmental Authority is keeping the area closed off with booms to absorb any pollutants that could be discharged into the sea while the ship is being maneuvered.
Yesterday, tugboats Antilen and Santay Island arrived in San Cristobal to help stabilize the Galapaface I. The Ministry of Environment also ordered the mobilization of additional personnel that includes 85 staff divided into working groups, who are monitoring the area 24 hours a day and assisting staff aboard the ship as needed. The removal of the ship’s cargo continues; the arrival of a crane with a 30-ton capacity is expected to expedite the process.
The Emergency Operations Committee is regularly evaluating the position of the ship to prevent any environmental impacts on Galapagos ecosystems, as well as to minimize the deterioration of the vessel.
Translated with permission from the Galapagos National Park Directorate. Please contact Galapagos Conservancy with inquiries.