A dive boat which sank off Santa Cruz island in the Galápagos National Park on Saturday carrying 47 barrels of diesel created an extensive but ‘superficial’ slick at the surface, according to National Park officers dealing with the spillage.
Concerns of ecological damage to the sensitive marine ecosystems for which the Galápagos islands are famous have been allayed by the swift action taken by ‘Guardians’ of the Directorate of the Parque Nacional Galápagos (DPNG)
The boat, named Albatros, is thought to have been transporting the fuel to supply other vessels based in the area when it sank in Academia Bay. The alarm was raised by Ecuador’s state-sponsored petroleum company Petroecuador, although the amount of diesel the Albatros was carrying – estimated to be around 2,000 gallons – was apparently not reported at the time. The four crew members on board were not injured during the incident.
DPNG Guardians rapidly deployed containment barriers and absorbent cloths before the vessel sank, according to reports. Other groups deployed biodegradable chemical disperser across the affected areas.
Diving and other water activities were suspended and the beaches surrounding Academia Bay closed following the sinking. Normal operations resumed and the beaches were reopened following a DPNG inspection on Sunday morning.
The reason for the sinking remains unclear, however the DPNG reports that ‘the breaking of a pipe’ as the possible cause. Divers will continue to inspect the vessel in the hope that the Albatros can be raised. It is presumed that much of the diesel carried remains on board, although safely contained.