Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment

Galapaface I, now no longer a threat to San Cristóbal Island

The Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment and the Galápagos National Park report the successful disposal of the cargo vessel Galapaface I, 68 days after it ran aground off Punta Carola on San Cristóbal Island, Galápagos.

According to a government news release, the Galapaface I was sunk at 5:25 p.m. Wednesday, Galápagos time, after being towed to an area 20 nautical miles east of the Galápagos Marine Reserve boundary.

The Ministry of Environment said the ship had posed a risk of contamination after it ran aground May 9th but preliminary environmental studies indicated that hadn’t happened.

For some San Cristóbal residents, the grounding of the Galapaface I brought back memories of the Jessica, an oil tanker that ran aground in Shipwreck Bay in 2001, spilling 175,000 gallons of diesel and fuel oil.   It was ranked as one of the worst environmental disasters in Galápagos history.

Environment Minister Lorena Tapia said that there will be follow-up studies to make sure the grounding of the Galapaface I hasn’t damaged delicate marine ecosystems in the waters off San Cristóbal.