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Ecuador: A “fuel slick” threatens the Galapagos after the sinking of a boat


This Saturday, April 23, a dive boat sank in the Galapagos archipelago, a famous biodiversity sanctuary off the coast of Ecuador. According to authorities, a “superficial fuel slick” has since spread around the scene of the sinking for reasons still unknown. The emergency protocol was immediately triggered to limit the impacts on the environment.

In a statement issued shortly after the accident, the state oil company Petroecuador said the boat in question, a “private vessel Albatros”, was carrying diesel on board, without specifying the quantity or the state of health of the four members. of crew.

The Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment later estimated that the boat “contained 2,000 gallons (about 7,500 liters) of diesel at the time of the accident” on the island of Santa Cruz. He added that due to “the presence of a superficial fuel slick on the surface at several points in the bay, aquatic activities have been suspended at certain tourist sites”.

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emergency protocol activated

In the photos published by the management of the Galapagos National Park, we can indeed see traces with “rainbow” reflections on the surface of the water and on the sand. Floating dikes have also been placed on the water to prevent the diesel from scattering. “In response to the sinking of a dive boat in Academia Bay, park rangers placed containment and dispersal barriers to limit potential negative environmental impacts. The shipowner will carry out salvage actions, on the basis of the emergency protocol”, can we read on Twitter

The Galapagos Islands are classified by Unesco as a World Heritage Site for their unique fauna and flora in the world and are part of the World Biosphere Reserve. This archipelago, which inspired the theory of evolution of the English naturalist Charles Darwin, has 198,000 km2 marine protected area.

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