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July 16, 2014
Cargo ship ‘Galapaface I’ is finally removed from Punta Carola after running aground in May
In the first such operation of its kind in the archipelago, the cargo ship Galapaface I that was stranded near Punta Carola in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristóbal for more than two months after running aground was successfully refloated.
The operation began at midnight on Tuesday, July 15, when suction pumps removed water from the lower holds of the ship and steel buoys were attached to the hull.
At approximately 2:00am, the tug boat Antillen began towing the ship east of the archipelago. It took approximately 25-30 hours to reach the established area 20 miles from the Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR), where it was sunk to a depth of 2,500 meters (8,200 feet). This area has been determined to have virtually no impact on the marine environment. The sinking took approximately three hours to complete.
Actions by the Ministry of Environment, through the Galapagos National Park Service, have facilitated the removal of the ship in a manner that ensures the safety of the fragile ecosystems of the archipelago. A parallel effort by the environmental authority involves underwater ecological monitoring of the area where the Galapaface I was stranded, as well as cleaning the primary stranding zone.
Once the tests for the corresponding analyses have been concluded, the Punta Carola visitor site — which has been closed since shortly after the ship ran aground — will reopen to the public.
Translated with permission from the Galapagos National Park Directorate. Please contact Galapagos Conservancy with inquiries.