Diesel fuel boat sinks off Ecuador’s sensitive Galapagos Islands

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Ecuador: Galapagos National Park said the boat was used for diving excursions.

Quito, Ecuador:

A submarine sank on Saturday off one of Ecuador’s environmentally sensitive Galapagos Islands, but damage was minor and no one was injured, officials said.

The boat was carrying about 47 barrels of diesel fuel that left a “superficial” oil slick, the environment ministry said.

The sinking was first reported by state oil company Petroecuador, which did not specify how much fuel may have been spilled.

Galapagos National Park confirmed the sinking of the ship called the Albatroz and said it was used for diving excursions in the waters of the islands, which are a protected natural heritage.

To control the spill, barriers have been placed near the accident, the company said.

The four crew on the ship are safe, it added.

The national park has halted tourist activities around the town of Puerto Ayora, where its headquarters are located.

Located in the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) off the coast of Ecuador, and famous for their giant tortoises, the Galapagos are a protected natural area and home to unique species of flora and fauna.

The archipelago was made famous by British geologist and naturalist Charles Darwin’s observations of evolution there.

The Galapagos Marine Reserve, where industrial fishing is prohibited, is the second largest in the world. More than 2,900 marine species have been reported within 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 damage was insignificant.

In 2001, an Ecuadorian-flagged ship carrying 240,000 gallons of fuel also sank off the coast of San Cristobal. That spill did cause environmental damage that harmed several marine species.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)



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