State of emergency declared as ship runs aground off Galápagos islands

Quito: A week after a ship ran aground in waters near one of the world’s most famous nature reserves, Ecuadoarean authorities have instigated a six-month state of emergency to help remove the Floreana safely. The multipurpose ship lies stranded near San Cristobal, an island that is part of the Galápagos islands World Heritage site.

The vessel was transporting 1,400 tons of cargo and 50,000 liters of fuel among other, potentially hazardous, products when it grounded on January 28.

Special barriers and absorbent materials are being placed around the vessel and teams are removing the cargo from the vessel. Water samples have been taken by the Directorate of the Galápagos National Park and are currently being investigated.

The Galápagos Islands was the first site to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The extreme isolation of the islands has led to the development of unusual plant and animal life – such as marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, giant tortoises, huge cacti, endemic trees and many different subspecies of mockingbirds and finches – all of which inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection following his visit in 1835.

The Floreana ran aground ironically in Naufragio Bay, which translates as Shipwreck Bay.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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