July 29, 2021

Work begins to refloat the sunken barge in Galapagos in December



The Ecuadorian Minister of Environment, Raúl Ledesma, reported on Saturday the start of work to refloat a barge that sank last December in the Galapagos archipelago.

“We remain vigilant to the refloating operations of the Orca barge, on San Cristobal Island, Galapagos, which are being developed as of today,” the minister wrote in his Twitter account.

And he said that after the removal of the barge, they will do “an ecological monitoring of the seabed to determine the impacts that this accident caused.”

“The National Government continues to demonstrate its commitment to environmental conservation. Through the Galapagos National Park we monitor to mitigate the risks that human actions can cause in fragile ecosystems such as Galapagos,” he added.

On December 24, the director of the Galapagos National Park, Jorge Carrión, assured Efe that the situation was “totally controlled” on San Cristobal Island where a cargo barge had sunk a few days before on a small jetty.

He recalled that it was an accident with the barge that “did not produce a spill”, but small fuel stains were recorded because “as the entire vessel is in contact with water, seawater came into contact with the engine room “he said then.

In December, it was reported that the barge had warped next to the small jetty, from where a crane was intended to place an electrical generation container on the ship, when the accident suddenly occurred when the load – still tied to the crane – fell violently on the barge and sink the boat.

The barge crew managed to jump in time to the sea and only one person, who was reported as injured, was transferred to a hospital in the city of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, in San Cristobal.

As a result of that mishap, the barge, the container and the crane sank.

In 2001, the ship “Jessica” ran aground in the so-called Shipwreck Bay, at the entrance to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of San Cristobal Island and generated a fuel spill that affected several specimens of sea lions, boobies and pelicans.

The Galapagos Islands were declared in 1978 as Natural Patrimony of Humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The archipelago is located about a thousand kilometers west of the continental coasts of Ecuador and is considered a natural laboratory that allowed the English scientist Charles Darwin to develop his theory on evolution.

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