Galapagos threatened by an environmental disaster

The Galapagos Islands has declared a state of emergency due to the threat of an environmental disaster from a cargo ship leaking tons of diesel…

Guía de Regalos

Galapagos threatened by an environmental disaster

The cargo ship Galapaface 1 after it ran aground last week. (Parque Nacional Galapagos)

The Galapagos Islands has declared a state of emergency due to the threat of an environmental disaster from a cargo ship leaking tons of diesel fuel.

The Ecuadorian government had already pumped 15,400 gallons of diesel oil from the cargo ship Galapaface 1 after it ran aground last week.

The Galapagos are home to unique animal species such as the giant tortoise, marine iguana and flightless cormorant.

The islands, made famous by Charles Darwin, have a fragile eco-system, which could now be in danger if the ship is leaking pollutants.

Galapaface 1 ran aground last week.

Crew members of the stranded Galapaface 1 ship being helped off of the vessel. (Parque Nacional Galapagos)

In 1978, Unesco, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization declared the chain of volcanic islands a World Heritage Site.

Jorge Torres, governor of Galapagos, said despite having emptied all the fuel, some pollutants remained inside.

“The ship is stranded and continues to present an environmental risk for the Galapagos Marine Reserve and must leave the area,” he said, reports EFE news agency.

In a statement, the Ecuadorian government said the emergency measure would free up resources to remove the vessel.

“As a result of the emergency declaration the Risk Management Secretariat will be able to directly carry out the purchase of goods, the procurement of services and the work that are required to overcome this emergency.”