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Environmental emergency declared

The Ministry of Environment of Ecuador declared an environmental emergency situation in the Galapagos Islands because of the risk of oil leakage and chemicals from the “Galapaface 1” on May 15. The decision was taken after it was found that the contaminated waste may be leaking out at sea and cause a risk to in the fragile ecosystem of the archipelago.

The state of environmental emergency was allowing the government to act quickly and facilitate the acquisition of services to tow the vessel off one week after it grounded at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. While much of the ship’s 72,000 liters of fuel has been removed, there still was the risk of sinking with the engine oil and cleaning products that were in the hold of the ship still on board.

Galapagos National Park said in press-release that reefer Galapaface 1 ran aground at Wreck Bay, near the entrance to the harbor at Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal island, the easternmost of the Galapagos inhabited islands, at 0315 LT May 9. It is understood that engine room was holed with ensuing water ingress, but bunker tanks weren’t breached, there’s no threat of pollution. Vessel is already fenced off with booms, salvage is under way, salvors and crew are offloading cargo and pumping out fuel.