Late last week, the news from Ecuador that a freight ship carrying 60,000 liters of oil has become stranded off the coast of the Galapagos Islands after running aground brought back painful memories of 2001 for environmentalists. The Ecuadoran vessel became stranded off the coast of the island San Cristobal last week, however an inspection by the authorities has been reported and shows that at this time the oil was not at risk of spilling from the tanker.
The reports also have stated that contingency plans were being made to mitigate the potential catastrophic impacts of a spill should that situation arise. The vessel is believed to be carrying around 16,000 gallons (60,000 liters) of diesel and crude oil.
The nearby Galapagos national park has made a statement that it is monitoring the situation and that the coastguard is coordinating efforts to offload some of the cargo of the ship in the hope that a high tide will lift it from the rocks. Situated in the Pacific Ocean some 1,000 km from the South American continent, the Galapagos islands and the surrounding marine reserve have been called a unique “living museum and showcase of evolution” as stated by the UNESCO.
In 2001, another oil tanker ran aground, but the resulting leak of around 180,000 gallons of oil was estimated to have killed around 62% of the marine iguana population on a neighboring island.