'Illegal and Dangerous': Oil Spill in the Galapagos

Crane falls on vessel, causing boat to tip, oil to seep into water off of San Cristobal Island
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2019 10:25 AM CST

CNN notes that environmentalists are likely to be fuming after an accident in the Galapagos Islands over the weekend that dumped 600 gallons of oil into the water. The spill happened early Sunday as a crane was lowering a container onto a cargo vessel on San Cristobal Island, lost control, and tipped over onto the boat, causing it to capsize. The BBC has video of the exact moment the crane hits the vessel; crew can be seen diving off the boat as it turns on its side and starts to sink. Local media say there were no injuries.

The coast guard of Ecuador, which the archipelago is a part of, announced it has put an emergency plan into action to contain the spill. Conservationists have long warned about overtourism in the islands, which house rare species and "some of the most unique and scientifically significant ecosystems on Earth," per CNN. Advocacy group SOS Galapagos decried the spill, blasting what it says was an "illegal and dangerous" operation. In 2001, the Galapagos suffered what New Scientist calls a "relatively small" oil spill that, within a year, killed more than 60% of the marine iguanas on Santa Fe Island. (More oil spill stories.)

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